The Magic of Compost Making

Composting is a kind of alchemy. You start with ‘waste’ products and end up with a beautiful, nutrient laden, soil improving, enlivened treasure. If you’ve never had the joy of creating your own compost from base materials, then our workshop on Sunday 22 August will be just the opportunity. 

Biodynamic Agriculture Australia members Celia Cornick and Rosie Gegenhuber will take us through the basics of biodynamics and explain why compost is so integral to biodynamic gardening.  Not too much theory though; the session will primarily be ‘hands on’ at the heap.

We will end up with a large communal compost for the garden, ready in 12 to 16 weeks; just in time to feed the soil for summer crops. Making a large scale compost is efficient, if you have the room. There are other options for small spaces, such as biodynamic barrel compost (or cow pat pit) which Celia and Rosie will also talk about.

They key to great bd compost is having quality manure (preferably cow manure from lactating animals) and the right proportions of “green” (high in nitrogen) and “brown” (high in carbon) materials. We aim for a ratio of around 25 or 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen in the overall heap, so the layers of green and brown are applied in various amounts to achieve this overall ratio. To give you an idea, dry autumn leaves (brown) are about 60:1 and fresh lawn clippings (green) are about 15:1. Fresh chook manure is around 7:1; cow manure about 20:1.

Besides Carbon and Nitrogen sources, the compost needs oxygen, moisture and the addition of the biodynamic compost preps which are based on herbs – yarrow, chamomile, nettle, oak bark, dandelion and valerian. Some people also apply the field spray BD500 to the completed heap.

Find out more, and make a beautiful compost, at our workshop. For more details on what to bring, how to register, etc. click on compostworkshop.

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