Last year my husband and I decided we'd try and enrich our soil. At first, after months of effort we managed to produce a smelly, gooey slop. Now we are producing much better soil - sweet smelling, although it is still a bit lumpy.
What are we doing wrong? We attended a free city council sponsored course to find out. Apparently we aren't using enough brown organic waste. We all know about the two types of organic waste but bear with me as I feel it is worth repeating.
Brown and green organic waste: Both are essential for composting in approximately equal parts. Both need to be moist - not wet and aerated so that the micro organisms that convert it all to compost get oxygen.
- Brown Waste includes: Brown, dried leaves, dried grass, hay, sawdust (in moderation as the carbon content is way too much) and all kinds of paper, preferably shredded.
- Green Waste: Fresh (green) Grass clippings, Kitchen scraps (fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags), weeds, green leaves, etc.
This summer we tried growing a few fruit and veges in our own home-composted soil. I can't begin to tell you how impressed we were with nature's bounty. We had a bumper crop each week and it lasted us throughout summer. Our capsicums were the sweetest and tender crisp, our cherry tomatoes were sweet and juicy and our mirchi, fat and not too teekha - exactly as we like them. Next season we are planning on more varieties of veges, fruit and herbs.
Eventually, once we are confident we have reasonably green thumbs we hope to get involved with our neighbourhood's community gardening efforts. If you'd like to find out about community gardens which are gaining popularity in NZ, I've written a guest post on Pattu's blog.
You might well ask what our composting, vege-growing and community efforts have to do with the title. That is Ron Finley's story. He's a great ambassador for community gardening and its benefits. He also has practical advice on making each community garden viable, long term and sustainable. And yes, someone did slap a case on him for growing veges.
Here's the link to his story in his own entertaining, humorous and inimitable style - TedX talk by Ron Finley.