Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

magentaspreen… just look at all that potential compost!

If you were thinking – wow what a beautiful tree spinach you’d also be on the right track – Miss Magenta Spreen is a real star, an essential part of our summer greens. Gorgeous though she is, I’m eyeing her up because she’ll make a considerable contribution to my autumn compost piles. Autumn is a very important compost making time. Winter is too cold for good compost and you need something ready in time to nourish your spring gardens, so Autumn it is.

Cast your beady eye around your garden (and your neighbours or the road side too!) to see what you can use. Any organic matter is far game – over-grown, over-zealous plants that need a prune back (use loads of herbs for their minerals); weeds; spent crops or fallen leaves. Grass clippings are fab too but use them fresh. Chop it all up into 20cm (ish) pieces. Anything thicker than your finger is too thick for the compost pile and needs to be composted

Chop it all up into 20cm (ish) pieces. Anything thicker than your finger is too thick for the compost pile and needs to be composted elsewhere. Don’t for goodness sakes get rid of it. Tuck it under the mulch beneath trees, natives or perennials  as slow release fertiliser au naturelle. You’ve already nicked off with all the fruits and vegetables, the least you can do is return the rest of the plant to the soil.

In order to generate enough heat, your compost pile should be at least 1m square and 1m high. Get rid of those awkward black compost bins and make your compost right where you need it next. This way you’ll capture the run off as it breaks down and save double handling. A cover is important to stop it drying out – I use a fadge (wool bag). Second hand fadges are cheap to buy, cover all four sides and the top, won’t blow off and are easy to take off (unlike said black compost bin).

Simply toss armloads of all your chopped up garden waste with whatever other organic matter you found as well as something to excite the microbes – manure or seaweed are the best. Moisten with the hose (moisten I said, not saturate!) and layer up in a square pile until all your ingredients are used up. Cover.

Sometime during the first week of its life you need to turn it. Toss and flip everything onto the space beside in order to get the outside bits into the middle. Put the fadge back on and leave it to rot down. Turn it more if you’re keen, more turning = faster brewing.

See how easy it is – now go nuts and make heaps!

Ps Weeds are really high in minerals making them wonderful additions to the compost heap, but use your noggin. If you don’t mind them in your garden then use ’em eg: chickweed and dandelion, if you do mind them eg kikuyu/ convolvulus, then don’t!