Random Notes For The Garden II

Posted on: November 11, 2008

chook got framed, originally uploaded by 99%.

My random notes from Scott’s last workshop seemed to be a real hit, so here are a few random notes from the composting one:

  • LAWN CLIPPINGS are great for your compost but not when they are fresh and all together because they tend to clump and not allow oxygem in. You’re better off drying them out a bit before sticking them in the compost or it will just turn into a mushy sludge
  • SHREDDED PAPER is great in your compost. Not just torn up newspapers either, but shredded white office paper is fine too. B&W is better than colour printed ones – the currently used inks seem to be fine and not toxic. But don’t use anything glossy. Apparently the bleach in the white office paper helps get rid of heavy metals in your soil and there have been some studies into the make up of the compost once it breaks down and there doesn’t seem to be any toxic residue from using shredded white office paper in your compost so it’s safe to compost.
  • WEED TEA can be used as a basis for garlic and chilli pest sprays so you’re not just getting rid of pests but fertilising your plants too. I had never though of ‘value adding’ to compost tea before. What a brilliant idea. (More about making compost or weed tea here).
  • DISEASED PLANTS can be composted but you’re best solarising (ie wrap it in black plastic and leave it out in the sun for a few weeks til it kills everything inside!) or breaking it down in a weed tea first. Though if the diseas is a fungal one Scott suggested solarising it first and then putting it in a weed tea.
  • RHUBARB LEAVES are not meant for eating. They’re not good for you and will probably make you feel crook but they’re not going to make you keel over and die. BUT a great thing to do with them is to boil them up in your aluminium pots to make your pots nice and shiny!
  • SHEET MULCHING is a term I had never heard of before this weekend and then I heard it all weekend! You can compost your food scraps this way if you want – just put a really thin layer of the scrap on the bit of garden you want to receive some nutrients and cover it over with mulch like dried lawn clippings or dry mulch. It keeps the nutrients near the surface.
  • TO DIG OR NOT TO DIG Personally I am all for not digging because I’m a weakling and every time I try to use a shovel I push all my weight on it and I seem to get no where. It’s humiliating really and who needs that? So I am all for the theory that it is better NOT to dig – surface microbes are supposed to live near the surface and break things down faster. If you dig over your soil you are mixing up your surface microbes and your ones that live below the top surface. And you could be putting nutrients from the surface down below where the root zone of you plant will go anyway. And furthermore your surface microbes often suck up nutrients from below the top soil to feed on near the surface so the SUBsurface soil is deficient in nutrients anyway. So when you’re starting a new veggie bed and if your top soil is hard and crusted over from not being gardened, don’t turn over that soil. Crack it instead – stick a fork or hoe in and prise it open but don’t turn it, move along and break open another bit and so on.
  • WORM FARMS – the commercial bought ones are often made from recycled plastic and because the plastic is all different colours it’s just easier for them to dye them black. But really this is the worst colour you could have if you’re going to leave your worm farm outside because they don’t like to be too hot. So if you can find one a colour other than black, get it! But it’s really easy to make a worm farm. I think styrofoam boxes would make excellent worm farms because of the insulation but they’re not the prettiest things, but you could always make a some kind of facade for them if you cared that much. Or you can paint the black plastic ones with a light coloured water based paint. Carpet underlay makes an excellent top layer for your worm farm because they hate the light. Mine is kept in a pitch black brick garage anyway, but I keep a sheet of black plastic on top. Originally I had some moist newspaper but it broke down in no time and was rather unpleasant to have to pick up each time.
  • WORM CASTINGS use a handful of worm castings when you plant your seedlings and they will get off to a great start! Also add a couple of handfuls to weed tea to make it a super tonic
  • COMPOSTING WORMS and garden worms are different beings. The composting worms won’t survive out in the garden. And garden worms won’t compost as fast as your composting worms (most common composting worms are the red wrigglers). So it’s worth forking out at the start to buy the proper composting worms and they multiply in no time.
  • CHOOKS – How many? If you live in Maribyrnong Council and you’re wondering how many you can keep – I just looked it up and it’s 10.
  • CHOOKS – save the refugees! Apparently some chook farms sell ex caged birds – refugee chooks! Once they get to a certain age they keep on laying but their eggs get too big for the egg cartons they usually get the knife. But you can buy them for like $5 and save they poor little hens. They will lay for about another year or two and then stop laying and then a few months later die. So, perhaps not a good option if you’re looking to form a loving long lasting bond with your bird. Perhaps not best to name them. Apparently they don’t perch – and they’ll all hop into a nest together. A great nesting box is to find an old grass catcher of an old lawnmower and they will share it.
  • CHOOKS – not sure? Try before you buy! If you’re not so sure how you’d go with the chook owning you can consider renting a couple for a month and seeing how you go. BOOK A CHOOK rent chooks out to places like kindies but also households who are thinking of giving them a go. They will set you up with everything you’ll need for the month and if you decide to purchase them at the end your rental fee comes off the purchase price.
  • EGG STORAGE – fresh eggs have some natural um freshness seal! So you don’t need to put them in the fridge or wash them, just write the date they were laid in pencil on them and keep them in a basket on your kitchen counter and remember to use the older ones first and if you eat them regularly you’ll be fine. Or you can do the ole floater test to see if it’s off if you’ve left it a while.
  • CHOOK FEED – heavy layers need protein! So to make sure they get it you can mix some pellets in their food that have up to 14% protein. Or give them a few extra worms from your compost bin which are about 20% protein. Though I think I’d feel a little mean to my worms if I did that to them. Not that I have chooks yet.
  • CHOOK POO is uber potent stuff so make sure you compost it before you put it in the garden or you’re going to burn your plants!
  • DEEP LITTER SYSTEM sounds the way to go if you have a chook pen. Give them a bail of straw and watch them joyfully pull it apart, frolicking in the hay! They’ll pull up the seeds from it and shake through it and poop in it and then every few months just sweep it up and put it in your compost. Sounds the easiest way to maintain their house
  • CHOOKS LOVE PORRIDGE. Yep, that’s what I heard. Bowl of warm porridge in the morning and they will love you.

1 Response to "Random Notes For The Garden II"

hello there, weeds are also great to feed to your worms (as long as they are NOT dosed with poison!) – you will see less than 2% sprouting again. if the odd weed does pop up in your wormery, simply pluck out again, and green manure back into the bedding:) thanks stacey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Please note that this blog has now moved to


All words and images belong to Moo I Made It unless otherwise stated. Please do not take anything without asking. Thanks.
%d bloggers like this: