Come and Create Compost

learning the art of composting at Newstead Community GardenAnother autumn, another big compost build … this year our BD compost making day will be on Sunday April 27, 10am – 3pmcompost flyer 2014.

Building a large compost heap is not only critical for soil building but it is also a great community activity and we couldn’t do it without extra hands. Over the past three years, gardeners have come from Newstead, Castlemaine, Taradale, Maldon, Guildford and other areas to learn about the basics and help build our heap.

Compost is the most important tool in organic and biodynamic gardening, where the focus is on feeding the soil. It’s the bacteria, fungi and other microbes that do the work for us, turning ‘waste’ into a rich resource, improving the soil and providing plant nutrients.

Checking out the compostWe build our heap with successive layers of carbon (brown) and nitrogen (green) and include the
biodynamic herb-based preparations of valerian, chamomile, nettle, yarrow, oak bark and dandelion. Other materials like eggshells, lime, dolomite and rockdust add minerals. Aeration, heaps of water and then a covering ‘blanket’ of thick straw sets up the ideal conditions for composting. Then we wait, and let the organisms do the work over the next six – eight months – easy. Even the Governor General was impressed!

Biodynamics also works with the wider cosmos – the rhythms and cycles of the moon, stars and planets: ‘as above, so below’. We will make the most of a waning (synodal rhythm) and descending moon (tropical rhythm) and a “leaf” day when the moon is passing through the water constellation or sign of Pisces (sidereal rhythm). All perfect for compost making.

compost day - saide's picOur garden is really starting to show the benefit of incorporating the compost each year as well as the other BD preps. We are fortunate to have local biodynamic sheep and grain growers and access to certified organic straw and manure further afield.

We are off to collect sheep manure from under the BD farm shearing shed on Wednesday 16th April, leaving Newstead at 2pm – if you’d like to come or offer a trailer, please join us (contact Gen 54762 633 for more info) for some earthy work! The workshop will be free to attend for those who help contribute through collecting materials.

Want to learn more about composting and try some hands-on construction? Come along on April 27th. By the end of the day you’ll be able to make your own heap, small or large, at home. BYO fork, shovel, gloves, appropriate footware and clothing, wheelbarrow if you can. Gifts of green material, lawn clippings, leaves and manure are also very welcome (though not manure if animals have been drenched).

compost flyer 2014

One thought on “Come and Create Compost

  1. janet barker says:

    An update on the Ballan Friendship Garden from David –

    Hi Janet, The Ballan Garden is going great, all of the Council Grant projects are finished, signed off and in use. (Tanks, Hot House, shed and Pergola).

    As well as the Playgroup kids, we now have the Scouts, Cubs and Joey’s (Younger cubs) with their own gardens and the Scouts will shortly begin work on a small native garden with a Frog Pond, all made from recycled materials and locally sourced native grasses, wattles ect.

    Had a great laugh last night with the Joey’s and their group leaders. We had a game thet we called “Smelly Vision’ where we had a table laid out with loads of herbs and they had to crush them between their fingers, smell and taste them and guess what they were, we got some hillarious answers, ranging from the correct ones to “Oh that smells like Poo”. Then they planted some seeds and put them in the Greenhouse, followed up by an Easter Egg hunt around the garden as an end of term treat.

    Now that we have a couple of people with disabilities involved as well as the kids and us oldies, I reckon that this is what Community Gardens are all about, I could not be more pleased. The web page is going from strenght to strength and we are setting up a link with the new Garden at Darley in Bachus Marsh, to help generate interest for them.

    Hope all is well and fruitfull at the Newstead Garden and you are getting ready for your winter vegies.

    Keep in touch and cheers for now.

    David

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