Worms and other tales from the compost heap…

I had some very exciting news for my friend Jo from work. Her worms are alive and kicking in the compost tumbler! I’d given up all hope since I sent them to their fate some weeks back but to my surprise, I discovered two fat red earth worms  strutting their stuff amongst the composting material.  They appeared a little sluggish but I gather this is due to the cold air and cool compost temperatures given it’s winter in Sydney.  As I returned them to their temporary home I blew them a little kiss (from Jo) as I know how attached she is to her ‘little wormies’ and values their contribution to her much loved compost heap. She screeched with delight when I told her on Monday.

The two of us are hopeless, always talking gardens and dirt in between phone calls and real work. Lucky for Jo I sit on the other side of the building when I’m in the office otherwise I could guarantee there’d be little work done.  Our discussions are infectious and there’s always plenty of keen ears nearby ready to listen in and share in our stories from the garden.

Jo and her husband Bernie are fabulous gardeners and have a similar bush setting to us but live at Glenbrook in the lower Blue Mountains. She’s very generous with her knowledge and loves to share produce from her amazing native garden. There’s often a spectacular array of natives on display in her office but this week I arrived to something a little different: a massive bunch of healthy vivid green sweet smelling dill. It was overshadowing her vegie garden so rather than just composting it, she decided to share it with anyone keen to have some. She’s a true permaculturalist at heart always generously sharing her knowledge and excess produce. By late morning she had several orders for individual dill plants with soil which she brought in the next day. To top it off, her husband Bernie had baked a delicious pumpkin and ginger slice which we all devoured.  I wonder what surprise she’ll have for us next week.

In the short two weeks that have passed since I set up my seed potatoes in pots, they have all sprouted like crazy so I’ve just added the first next layer of mulch and compost to make sure the tubers aren’t exposed to the light. This prevents them from going green. When there’s around 50cm of mulch in the pot, and the green tops have died back, they’ll be ready to harvest and I can’t wait to get my hands dirty. Unless of course I go bandicooting beforehand!

Sadly, the temperature in my little tumbler never really got over about 30° C but having received an appreciated thumbs up from my husband Chris, I can proudly say that the contents are slowly turning into a healthy looking and earthy smelling compost. I haven’t given up on the hot compost idea and will definitely give it another go next round…and probably the one after that.

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