Category Archives: Compost

Mid Week in the Garden

Hello gardeners,

While the weather has been warm and the days long, a few of us have been gathering at the garden in the late afternoon midweek. This week, and for the next few weeks, we’ll meet at the garden from 5 pm on Tuesday evenings for some weeding, planting, and feeding of the garden beds in preparation for our next season of planting. This is in addition to our Sunday morning gardening bees, which continue as usual..

We know Sundays don’t suit a lot of people, here’s hoping you can make it along on Tuesday for an hour or so? Also on Tuesday, Kaz is keen to propose and discuss a strategy for where and how we source our seeds to ensure they are good quality. Please bring along your ideas and suggestions.

And last, Jenny, our compost co-ordinator extraordinaire, will be out of town (indeed out of the country) for the last couple of weeks of February, and the first week of March. This means we need a volunteer to fill in for Jen on her weekly compost collecting run – every Thursday or Friday from Cucina, Beanstalk and the Flame Tree Co-op. for a few weeks in February/March (and ideally, if you could share the job with Jen when she gets back I’m sure that would be a great help to her).

Can anyone help? Please let us know now, so Jenny can show you the ropes before she leaves for vacation.

See you down at the garden tomorrow!

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Open Day Fun

We had a great time at our Open Day on September 23rd. Thanks to everyone who attended.

We would also like to send our sincere thanks to Peter Button for welcoming us on behalf of the Dharawal custodians of the land, and for his music.

Thanks to all of the other musicians who donated their time:

  • The Emma Kelley Trio: Bertie Mcmahon on bass, Patrick Kell on keys, Emma on Sax
  • Rockin’ Russ and Josh Smith (thanks Josh too for being the super-roadie! and thanks to a local Hotel  for loaning sound equipment)
  • China and his band:  China Pingnam bass, Andy Matthews guitar/vocals, Dave Deeds  drums

We would also like to thank the local businesses who donated bread rolls and sausages for our barbeque, and plants and tools for our herb spiral and garden.

And a huge thankyou also to our marvelous neighbours Anne and Trevor for donating the electricity and putting up with us – not just on the open day, but 24/7 supporters and guardians of our garden!

The materials for the herb spirals – the lucerne, straw, hay and cow manure – were purchased for us by Wollongong Council from a fund allocated to helping purchase resources for Wollongong community gardens. And huge thanks in particular to Vanessa John for not only informing us of this funding opportunity, but purchasing and arranging delivery of the materials direct to our site.

And last but not least the hard-working members of the Thirroul Gardeners (you know who you are! But a special shout out to event organizers including Kazie, Kade, Paul, Robert, Camille, Paddy, Julie, Jenny, Vicki, Alex, Colin, THANKS!) and their friends and family (Maree! Pete!, Mark, Yoshie, Karen!, Peter, Lisa, Lani, Stuart, and more!) who worked so hard to make this happen.

Photos by Camille

Incredible Community – Incredible Edible

An inspiring TED talk by Pam Wahurst of Todmorden England. Community vision, communication and determination.

LINK TO RESOURCE INFO – http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/resources/incredible-edible-starter-kit

Get involved – Join A Garden Sub-committee

Spring is here there’s plenty to do, so its time to get some more hands on deck.

Now we have Team Leaders for our sub-committees we need you to get involved with an area of garden development that interests you.

If you live in the local area and neighbouring suburbs of Thirroul and would like to be involved in the grassroots development of the garden then please join one of the sub-committees below by emailing your details to : thirroulgardeners@gmail.com

Sub-Committee                               Team Leader

Fundraising and Events                                Kazie Bent

Bushcare                                                             Vicki Marchant

Water                                                                    Ian Miles

Documentation and Arts                              Camille Favoloro

Soil Health/ Compost                                    Paddy Lane 

Site Co-ordinator                                             Robert Haley

Education                                                            Paddy Lane

Communications and social media          Julie Reed 

Structures                                                           Andrew Saunders

Edible City – Film to watch

A film for you to watch and contemplate. Helping you to understand the impending global crisis – who controls the food and your nutrition.

Big Government will do what Big Business wants them to do – keep Big Farming alive. But on closer examination that Big System is falling apart at the very foundations – the soil itself.

Petroleum Companies supply Chemical companies that force feed mono-cultures with chemicals that ultimately destroy soil life and vitality which in turn produce food of poor nutritional value.

Please take time out from the mainstream to learn about whats going on today.

This film is about local communities taking control of the food they eat.

UPDATE – August – September 2012

Hello Gardeners,

August 26th saw a group of keen participants meet to discuss the garden site plan and plants ideas for the Southern half of our very extensive site at High St Reserve.
We now own and will soon erect an under cover area, called a Cola along with 2 water collection tanks due to be installed by end September all funded by a Government Grant.
There is much to get started and completed as we have set ourselves a target date of September 23rd Spring Equinox for an Open Day at the site with ceremonial garden bed building and planting. There are plans for food and a cake stall and please let us know if you can donate a cake or some time to help out. More info on this will be supplied in the coming weeks.
The aim is to build 3 herb spirals on the day – donations of materials and herb seedlings very much appreciated.
Please come along and meet the crew who have been working so very hard at getting this garden ” in the ground”. Information about memberships, Garden design and future activities will be available on the day, with committee members happy to talk about their experience and expectations of the Thirroul Community Garden Project.
Please take a look at some new pages listed here on the blog that show some of the work we have accomplished this month and also information about upcoming projects. We really need volunteers and new members to come on board to help make the garden a success. There is a lot to do and doing it together helps bond friendships and community.
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Whats new under:
Planning and Design – Garden Design Plans, Stages Schedule, Materials List for Herb Spirals
Plant Notes – Ground Plan Plant List
ON SITE Every Sunday 9.30am – What you need to know
Regional Sustainability – Events and Education in the Region
Events – OPEN DAY September 22nd 2012

Compost 101

NEWS – The compost team have approached some local cafes who have agreed to save their green scraps and some coffee grounds. We have provided them with a 20L bucket with lid that will be collected every Friday afternoon.

As we are well on our way with our first compost heap it might be good to revise some info about what makes the ‘perfect pile’. Below is a great article from a site called composting101.com that outlines the best ratios of Carbon – Brown Dry and Nitrogen – Wet Green waste.

The crucial numbers we must remember is 25:1 ratio.

25 parts Brown DRY to 1 part Green WET

A Balancing Act

(Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratios)

All organic matter is made up of substantial amounts of carbon (C) combined with lesser amounts of nitrogen (N). The balance of these two elements in an organism is called the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N ratio). For best performance, the compost pile, or more to the point the composting microorganisms, require the correct proportion of carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein production. Scientists (yes, there are compost scientists) have determined that the fastest way to produce fertile, sweet-smelling compost is to maintain a C:N ratio somewhere around 25 to 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, or 25-30:1. If the C:N ratio is too high (excess carbon), decomposition slows down. If the C:N ratio is too low (excess nitrogen) you will end up with a stinky pile.

Below are the average C:N ratios for some common organic materials found in the compost bin. For our purposes, the materials containing high amounts of carbon are considered “browns,” and materials containing high amounts of nitrogen are considered “greens.”

If the numbers in Browns are high they must either be used sparingly or balanced by a higher quantity of Greens to obtain the 25:1 balance

Estimated Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratios
Browns = High Carbon C:N
Ashes, wood 25:1
Cardboard, shredded 350:1
Corn stalks 75:1
Fruit waste 35:1
Leaves 60:1
Newspaper, shredded 175:1
Peanut shells 35:1
Pine needles 80:1
Sawdust 325:1
Straw 75:1
Wood chips 400:1
Greens = High Nitrogen C:N
Alfalfa 12:1
Clover 23:1
Coffee grounds 20:1
Food waste 20:1
Garden waste 30:1
Grass clippings 20:1
Hay 25:1
Manures 15:1
Seaweed 19:1
Vegetable scraps 25:1
Weeds 30:1

Note: Many ingredients used for composting do not have the ideal ratio of 25-30:1. As a result, most must be mixed to create “the perfect compost recipe.” High C:N ratios may be lowered by adding grass clippings or manures. Low C:N ratios may be raised by adding paper, dry leaves or wood chips.

Many home gardeners prefer to put up with a slight odor and keep some excess nitrogen in the pile, just to make sure there is always enough around to keep the pile “cooking!” Learn more about building a hot compost pile here.

Here are some good Recipes from Jackie French’s Compost Book

  1. 12 parts grass clippings to 1 part saw dust
  2. 2 parts grass clippings, 3 parts weeds, 1 part leaves
  3. 2 parts weeds, 3 parts paper, 2 parts lucerne
  4. 3 parts weeds,3 parts leaves, 1 part paper, 1 part chicken litter, 1 part diluted seaweed solution

Compost Glorious Compost + Whiteboard Request + COLA update

Luscious Compost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s almost 2 weeks since we built the compost heap, and we’ll be meeting at the garden again this Sunday 9:30 to turn it again. Check out the photos from last week below!

Then the following Sunday, we’ll have our second planning session at Paddy’s house in Bulli (watch for details soon).  For that session, it would be great to have a whiteboard. Can anyone donate one? Please contact us at thirroulgardeners@gmail.com if you can.

And last but not least, an update on the COLA ! The materials will be delivered to the site the week of September 3, so we need some help in construction – preferably September 5, 6 or 7. CAN YOU HELP? Please contact our Construction co-ordinator Andrew – you can send a message to this address or contact Andrew directly. Not all heavy lifting, so if you can come along that would be great!

Vicki spreads mulch around the bushcare plantings

Jenny and Paul turning the compost

Caring for Compost

Soil building is off to a great start at the Garden! Last weekend the very first compost heap was established. It needs weekly care for the next while, so come along each Sunday in August to turn it, secure it, and check on progress. Meet at the garden around 10 or 10:30 and discuss next steps too. See you there!