Queen of Queenscliffe Compost (and worms)

We’re fast approaching our compost build – and before that the Newstead Short Story Tattoo with Joe Dolce and his pizzas (and secret special sauce) at the garden. Still time to book for the event, which is sure to be food for self/soul/brain, as well as your stomach. In fact the whole weekend looks to provide, with Christos Tsiolkas, Clementine Ford, Gary Foley, MTC Cronin, and of course our own Neil Boyack amongst the writers.

_DSC0588But back to compost. Today I met Rose the Queenscliffe Queen of Compost and earthworm farmer extraordinaire. Thanks to Gayle for introducing us (and also showing me her vege patch and new, updated, worm farm). How wonderful to talk worms and composts and soils with fellow gardeners.

Rose is especially passionate. She moved to Queenscliffe to care for her ailing mother from inner city, high-rise Brisbane. And stayed. Her soil and garden is a sight to behold. Given the location – salty, sandy, windy, exposed – it’s amazing to see what she’s producing in a very small backyard (and front!) beside the boat harbour. Rose was specially enthused when we arrived as she’d just taken delivery of a Robo Coup – industrial-strength food processor (read compost-creator). And the worms are very happy too.

the compost queen of queenscliffe

Rose has a series of systems happening in her yard – a fantastic wormfarm (earthworms only), some compost bins, and a lasagne style open system in the front yard. She collects vege ‘scraps’ from the local fruit and veg retailers and chops them up (now faster c/- the new gadget) and layers them. Lots of them. The specifics depend upon the system, whether it be lasagne, compost bin or worm farm. Sugar cane mulch provides the carbon material, and she also applies yoghurt/milk products which supply extra microbial assistance, as well as lime and blood and bone.

Rose says she’s still learning and researching, but I reckon she’s onto something. Seeing the results, at different stages, and in-situ in the garden, it looks to me that she’s truly creating humus – without a hot compost method or using animal manures. And seeing this in sandy, seaside soil makes it especially impressive. It shows there’s more than one way to compost. And that patience, passion – and a multitude of earthworms – can create soil and a model for sustainability.

Thanks Gayle and Rose.

Click on the thumbnails to see the larger version or enter the slideshow.

Join us in creating some at the garden on May 17. And checkout some other gardening workshops at Mount Alexander Fruit Gardens.

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