Thursday, 7 November 2013

Soil quality

The quality of the soil is but one of the many parameters one needs to juggle when maintaining a veggie patch. Some of the others being: sunlight, water, PH levels, bugs. fertiliser, and crop rotation.

To this end, I have a continual stream of compost on the tumble. Not mulch, which to my mind is purely for water retention, and has not undergone the necessary decomposition. Not humus, as I tend to think of this as containing decaying animal matter as well as decaying vegetable matter.

I suspect I do not tumble my compost for long enough. Look at this latest batch that I have just layered into the low bed. There were 8.5 bucket loads (an 8L bucket). Can you see the complete leaves in amongst the rest? If this were 'mature' compost, the entire mix would be more friable, rich but more like soil..

But, I am getting there ...


Margaret said...

Hi Julie, hope all is going well with the new bub.
I have a tumble composter, the instructions say 2 parts dry (leaves, grass clippings, shredded paper etc) to 1 part moist ( fruit & vegie scraps etc) with some animal manure added, I use sheep poop about 2 cups a week and when it gets too heavy to turn easily, you stop adding and just turn every second day for 3 weeks, it comes out dark, moist, and beautiful,the avo skins seem to be a bit tough.
I think compost is just a matter of trial and error for your climate and position in the yard and balance of what goes in. good luck

Julie said...

I cannot turn my tumble compost at all. There is no handle, yet it seemed so easy. Just a simple flick and the thing would tumble over. I use much the same as you, except for the manure. I used the sweepings from Hamish's chook pen to begin with, but that grew so much wheat from the food he used, that I stopped that pronto. What I do now is put in some rough and ready soil Provide bulk and keeps it a bit more friable. I also put in a couple of buckets of water each week. I might whinge, but it is not too bad.

Margaret said...

Hi Julie, My composter doesn't have a handle either, I have to get a grip on the lid and the ridge around the middle.....not easy ! just tumble it like that a couple of times, if you joints and strength are not up for that, you may have to get some male help : )