Cheat’s Compost

a handful of finished compost

I don’t always keep up with compost making. There’s many a moment when I have crops ready to plant but no compost to hand. In which case, I whip around the garden and creatively rustle up some soil food, or cheats compost as I affectionately call it.

It’s moment like these your handy stashes of decomposed OM (well rotted manure, aged scrapings from the chook house or mushy old hay) come into their own – you’ll be super grateful for them again and again.

In the absence of decomposed goodness, my back up plan is the worm farm and/or the delicious soil beneath well fed citrus or avocados, from which I take a little.

Still not enough? Go low and look underneath whatever piles of organic matter you have. One such desperate hunt revealed an amazing pile of peaty wormy goodness beneath the stash of wood by the fire circle. Glorious find!

A cheats compost example

rotten manure full of worms
Rotten manure is a beautiful thing!

Yesterday I had about a dozen broccoli and cabbage seedlings ready to plant, no prepared beds and no time. Not for the first time, understand.

If only I’d looked after my spring made compost but alas, I hadn’t and it dried out during summer. All wasn’t lost though – while the outside of the compost pile was crusty and dry, there was a small amount of goodness in the middle. Yuss! I mixed it with my stash of rotten manure – hello! cheats compost! And then my buddy Ange happened to drop off a fadge of seaweed – things were looking up.

In the end, this is how my latest emergency bed rolled out.

Spread the compost + manure mix across the bed
+ seedlings planted and watered in,
+ seaweed dotted between the seedlings,
+ the crusty dried compost on top for mulch,
+ biological brew poured on,
= autumn broccoli secured.


  1. Than
    Thank you for being so real a d transparent Kath. It is so encouraging.

  2. Keriann Lancaster says

    Hi Kath,
    I always enjoy your newsletters, thanks so much for sharing.
    Question, do you net your brassicas against the white butterfly or just keep an eye on them for green caterpillars?
    Cheers, Keriann.

  3. Keriann Lancaster says

    Sorry Kath, just read the March planting guide and got my answer. Cheers, Keriann.