Magic compost heap

Em and I already have a couple of compost bins that live by the garage and are fairly run-of-the-mill food scrap affairs.  They’re perfectly good but in my heart of hearts I’ve always hankered after a compost heap like my Dad used to have when I was a kid. 

Dad’s compost lived at the back of the back yard and was constructed out of fence posts and corrugated iron in a very adhoc, blokes in sheds kind of way.  I have no great love of corrugated iron but had read that old shipping pallets made a good structure for a large open style heap.

Last week Em gave me a newspaper clipping that her friend and workmate Patricia had photocopied for me – it set out how to make the perfect heap by layering carbon, nitrogen, animal waste and lime in a strange kind of gardening trifle.  This sounded pretty good to me so after lunch today I decided to have a bash at it.

With the help of some free pallets from RD1, some $4 a sack horse crap from up the road, grass clippings from the lawn and some old straw we had lying about, I turned this hitherto lumpy patch of pseudo lawn into this combined garden alchemy set and paternal tribute.  I managed to make three and a half layers of straw/grass/shit/lime and just need to find something to cover it over with so it can get nice and warm.

In other garden updates – beetroot were indeed the next cab off the ranks in the sprouting race (mix those metaphors) and have now been joined by cucumbers, tomatoes and even eggplant!  I’ve planted out two kinds of peas (sugar snap and snow-pea), baby carrots on a special seed tape (highly recommended) and some thyme, all straight into the garden.  Tomorrow I’m hoping to get some coriander and basil on the way and find a piece of perspex for my next seed raising experiment.

~ Tom


3 Responses to Magic compost heap

  1. Madeline says:

    Go Garden Tom, Go.

  2. tomandemma says:

    Dear Tom and Emma,
    Congratulations on winning the seed sprouting sweepstake with Beetroot!
    Tom, your compost bin looks great. Your bin and what goes into it is clearly going to be more thought-through than mine ever was. I think we used to chuck the meat scraps in there as well. Which might explain why, in at least a couple of years when I broke the bin open, there was a family of field mice in residence. It wasn’t until we came here to 19A and, Emma, you told us how the meat attracts flies, that we have kept the meat out.
    And I recall that, with all due ceremony, I interrred in the compost the ancient olive green cardigan that Julie had knitted for me years before and that doubled as my Linus Blanket. It had totally disappeared by the next Spring. Life after death. The Resurrection, in very sooth.
    I can’t think of a more fitting tribute, Tom.
    Love, Dad.

  3. Helen says:

    Wow – I love that story about the composted cardigan. Kind of a shame though – Ross, if you have another fond cardigan on its last legs, give it to me and I will fashion you a teddy from it so you can take it to bed with you. 🙂

    Tom – good work on the compost front! I have always been rather slack with my compost heap – just throwing food scraps and lawn clippings at it, but you are inspiring me to be a little more thoughtful about it.

    x Helen

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