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Posts tagged ‘how to make compost’

Free Home Composting Workshop: Hobart May

Learn how to compost your food waste at home for free!

In collaboration with the City of Hobart, we’re very happy to announce more free composting workshops for YOU to support you to compost your food waste at home and keep it out of landfill where it becomes a stinky, nasty pollutant.

SOLD OUT

BECAUSE….. Did you know that food waste comprises nearly half of the rubbish in an average household rubbish bin and that up to (and over) 40% of landfills across Australia consist of pure food waste. Yuck!  Once in landfill, food waste undergoes anaerobic decomposition (because of the lack of oxygen) and generates methane. When released into the atmosphere, methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

So if you compost your food waste you’re diverting it from landfill and transforming it into nutrient-dense compost. Perfect for growing a great veggie patch in your own home or community garden!

THIS WORKSHOP WILL COVER HOW TO COMPOST FOOD WASTE WITH:

  • Chickens,
  • Small compost bins,
  • Large compost bays and piles,
  • Compost worm farms,
  • and more!

YOUR VENUE

This workshop is being held at Mathers House at 108 Bathurst St, Hobart on a Sunday at the same time Farm Gate Market is happening directly out the front. Because of this you will be unable to drive directly to the front door. Instead, park in the Melville St carpark and walk across the road.

YOUR COMPOST TEACHER

Hannah Moloney is the director of Good Life Permaculture and their lead educator and designer with *many* years of experience in composting. She’s worked with Cultivating Community and the City of Yarra running innovative community composting programs plus a number of home composting pilot projects with the City of Hobart. Passionate about composting food waste, Hannah educates people on how to harness this precious resource and transform this kitchen waste into garden gold!

COVID-19

Please note, this workshop will be run in accordance to Covid-19 guidelines recommended at the time. If you are unwell with flu like symptoms we ask you to please not attend the workshop – please contact us beforehand to notify us if this is the case so we can pass on your place to someone else.

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Free Home Composting Workshop: Kingston March

Learn how to compost your food waste at home for free!

In collaboration with Kingborough Waste Service, we’re very happy to host a series of free one-hour composting workshops for YOU to get you composting your food waste at home and keep it out of landfill.

 

BECAUSE….. Did you know that food waste comprises nearly half of the rubbish in an average household rubbish bin and that up to (and over) 40% of landfills across Australia consist of pure food waste. Yuck!  Once in landfill, food waste undergoes anaerobic decomposition (because of the lack of oxygen) and generates methane. When released into the atmosphere, methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

So if you compost your food waste you’re diverting it from landfill and transforming it into nutrient-dense compost. Perfect for growing a great veggie patch in your own home or community garden!

THIS WORKSHOP WILL COVER HOW TO COMPOST FOOD WASTE WITH:

  • Chickens,
  • Small compost bins,
  • Large compost bays and piles,
  • Compost worm farms,
  • and more!

YOUR VENUE

This workshop is being held at the new Kingsborough Community Hub (in the Multipurpose Hall), at Goshawk Way, Kingston. Please arrive 5 minutes early so we can start on time.

YOUR COMPOST TEACHER

Anton Vikstrom is Director of Good life Permaculture, an Environmental Scientist, a permaculture designer/educator and a whiz composter! With over 20 years of home composting experience under his belt, there’s not much he doesn’t know when it comes to turning your kitchen waste into garden gold.

 

 

COVID-19

Please note, this workshop will be run in accordance to Covid-19 guidelines recommended at the time. If you are unwell with flu like symptoms we ask you to please not attend the workshop – please contact us beforehand to notify us if this is the case so we can pass on your place to someone else.

 

LOOKING TO LEARN OTHER HANDS-ON SKILLS?

We run lots of workshops – register your interest here and we’ll let you know what’s coming up.

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Real Skills for Growing Food – March

TWO DAYS OF HANDS-ON LEARNING, EQUIPPING YOU WITH THE SKILLS TO GROW FOOD IN YOUR OWN HOME.

 

We’re partnering with Fat Pig Farm to bring you two days of hands-on Real Skills for Growing Food. Join us to learn the foundations as we take you from soil to seeds, poop (manure!) to propagation and get you growing your own food at home – skills that you’ll have for the rest of your life.

YOU’LL GET TO LEARN ALL ABOUT…

  • Soil: If you want to grow good food, you’re going to need to know about soil – this is the key to nutritious food production. We’ll introduce you to the soil food web and explore a range of soil preparation methods for different contexts.
  • Compost: Learn about a range of compost techniques and help build a big compost pile.
  • Improving soil fertility: We’ll look at a range of DIY techniques you can create at home to improve your soil and plant health, including worm farms and liquid fertilisers.
  • Garden beds and tools: Help prepare a garden bed, and get to know Fat Pig Farm’s favourite tools for weed management and planting.
  • Propagation: Empower yourself to grow food from scratch – we’ll look at everything from making your own seed raising mix, planting seeds, and growing plants from cuttings.
  • Vegetable growing: We’ll introduce you to growing both annual and perennial vegetables so you can create diverse, edible gardens.
  • Planning your veggie patch: We introduce important considerations for planning a garden design and seasonal planting schedules.
  • Garden troubleshooting: Take a look at practical approaches to living with weeds and pests.

WHO SHOULD COME TO THIS WORKSHOP?

We’ve designed this workshop as an introduction for folks wanting to get started in growing their own food and for people looking for some extra guidance in refining their growing skills. We cover the essential skills and knowledge to set you up for success in your garden. 

STUDENTS RECEIVE

  • Full catering by Fat Pig Farm – it’s going to be delicious,
  • An invitation to an optional dinner on the Saturday night (additional cost applies),
  • Some solid time in Fat Pig Farm’s market garden where you’ll see strategies you can apply to your small or large garden,
  • A copy of The Practical Australian Gardener by Peter Cundall,
  • Seasonal vegetable seedlings to get you growing,
  • Extensive course notes on everything we cover over the weekend, and
  • Skills and knowledge useful for the rest of your life!

“The attention to detail was great – this makes everything run smoothly and comfortably. And the gifts were amazing! Not only did I have a wonderful weekend, I came away with so much stuff! Thank you”.

CATERING

Fat Pig Farm will spoil you with food to fill your belly, warm your hearts and inspire you to grow your own. Think hearty soups filled with fresh veggies from the garden, Fat Pig ham on bread straight from their wood fired oven, plus cakes and scones inspired by summer’s preserves.

SATURDAY NIGHT FARM FEAST

All students plus their friends and family are invited to join us for a yarn and a cider over slow roasted farm grown goodness.

Please note, dinner is an optional extra to the daily workshops and costs an additional $90 per person. This is a wonderful chance to bring your family and friends along to soak up the hands-on learning vibes and enjoy the weekend with you.

*And yes, we can easily cater for people with different dietary needs.

Fat Pig Farm is nestled in Glaziers Bay, 10 minutes from Cygnet and is home to Sadie Chrestman and Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans. As a working farm, they run a market garden, mixed fruit and nut orchards, chickens, bees, some milking cows and raise pigs. They also have a delightful restaurant, open for weekly lunches and occasional cooking workshops.

HOW DO I GET THERE?

You’ll be provided with clear directions on how to get there prior to the course.

YOUR TEACHERS

Nadia Danti brings years of market gardening experience and has travelled the world working with some of the best growers out there to learn the skills she needed. Nadia is passionate about soil health and understanding the ecosystem under our feet, as well as supporting people to connect to their local food system and empowering them to grow some of their own food in whatever sized space they have!

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Sadie Chrestman is the head market gardener at Fat Pig Farm. Together with Matthew, she has developed Fat Pig Farm into the diverse, productive landscape it is today. With an enthusiasm that stuns, she has created a market garden overflowing with delicious and nutritious food and healthy soils. Incredibly generous with her time and knowledge, all who learn from her are better off for it!

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James DaCosta has worked on a huge range of small farms across Tasmanian including running the Hobart City Farm for 6 years (since closed). Originally from NW Tasmania, he was reared on the rich red soils of that region where he grew large and strong like a Kennebec (potato). He is a gardener, bee keeper, and permaculture designer. A natural teacher, James has a knack for inspiring and equipping people with the skills they need to get growing!

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Firstly, thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational course. As experienced growers, we were impressed that you covered so many areas so that inexperienced and experienced growers could walk away with something of value. It was a really positive feeling to walk away with a book, seedlings, trays, seeds, cuttings etc – was most generous and will be a great ongoing reminder of where we started (dead or not ;-)). Thank you so much everyone. You are great bunch!

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ACCOMMODATION

For folks travelling from afar – there are a wealth of local options for you to choose from, CLICK HERE to see a huge range of options put together by our friends at the Cygnet Folk Festival. Please note, due to Covid-19 some of these venues may not be up and running yet.

CANCELLATION POLICY

There is no refund available for this course. If you’re unable to make it we encourage you to pass your place onto friends or family – alternatively you’re welcome to put it towards one of our future courses.

Covid-19

Please note, this workshop will be run in accordance to Covid-19 guidelines recommended at the time. If you are unwell with flu like symptoms we ask you to please not attend the workshop – contact us beforehand to discuss options.

Looking to learn other hands-on skills?

Not sure you can commit to a full weekend? Check out our Super Soil Skills for Happy Veggies class for a 1-day primer on improving your soil and growing better food.

We run lots of workshops – register your interest here and we’ll let you know what’s coming up.

 

 

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Hot Composting Video

If you’ve got lots of bulk organic matter in your garden, then hot composting is for you. It’s a great way to process large amounts of material to cycle it back into your landscape to improve soil health and ultimately, grow more food.  You can watch our latest covid-19 Crisis Gardening video to see how we do it in our own garden here.

Additional hot composting resources we’ve created over time include:

In conclusion, compost (in its many shapes and forms) is an essential part of living a good life. Whether you’re doing it in your backyard, community space or your local Council’s facilitating it for/with you – get into it. There’s nothing more satisfying than turning all that comfrey and spoiled straw you can see below into dark brown nutritious compost for our garden!

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How To Make HOT Compost

Hot composting is a great way to process bulk organic matter and process (get rid of) any pathogens (bad bugs) and unwanted plants (weeds). You can spend your whole life studying and practicing compost and still not know everything – it’s such a deep and intricate science. This brief article is merely here to help point you in the right direction in larger scale composting, keep researching and practicing and you’ll just keep learning!

What’s the difference between hot and cold composting?

Hot composting involves building a compost pile (in one go) which is at least one cubic metre in size, any less than this and it wont be able to generate the heat required to break down the organic matter and kill off pathogens (bad bugs) in the desired time frame. Hot composting will easily get up to over 100 degrees if you let it, however the desired temperature is 60/65 degrees. At this level it’s killing off the pathogens (the bad bugs) but not the desired biology, once it gets hotter than this the good biology is also getting killed – not good.

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Nifty thermometers built for the job can help keep an eye on the compost pile’s temperature. Image from here

Cold compost is… you guessed it, cold. It’s usually done on a smaller scale in standard compost bins and is more popular with people with tiny garden spaces. You add to slow compost systems gradually, a small bucket of food scraps and straw every day or so.

There are two things that all composting methods have in common, the first thing is the ingredients. There are 4 universal inputs: carbon, nitrogen, water and air. Carbon ingredients is anything that’s dry and brown (think dead), such as straw, hay, brown leaves, shredded office paper, ripped/scrunched newspaper, cardboard – you get the idea. Nitrogen is anything that’s really fresh including animal manures (horse, cow, chicken, sheep, rabbit etc (leave out cat poo due to the risk of totoxoplasmosis)), green lawn clippings, food scraps and green waste. There are some things I don’t ever put in the compost as it feels wrong, these include invasive grass species (twitch and kikuyu and any seed heads from plants I really don’t wont in my garden). I’ll dry and burn these, give them to the cickens or drown them in a bucket of water instead of putting them in the compost. But that’s just me.

The second thing all compost methods have in common is that these ingredients are layered. Just like a lasagna, the carbon and nitrogen materials are layered, alternating between the two until you’ve reached at least one cubic metre as seen below.

compost pileThe layer of twigs at the bottom helps increase airflow and drainage from the pile. Once that’s down you can get started with your carbon and nitrogen layers.

compost profile 1

This photo is actually from a small compost bin, however you apply this same technique on a large scale when building a hot compost. You may notice there’s some wire mesh on the bottom – this is an add on to prevent rodents from moving in, a handy tip if you have unwanted furry animals raiding your compost bin. 

What ratio of carbon and nitrogen materials should you use?

Most compost books you read will say stick to a carbon/nitrogen ration of 25:1. However it really depends on the materials you have on hand, you’ll find that very rarely will any of them actually be 100% carbon or nitrogen, they’ll always have some of the other in them – if that makes sense. Personally, I’ve found using a ratio of 50:50 works well, sometimes a little less nitrogen and more carbon when I have particularly rich nitrogen ingredients – just to make sure it’s balanced.

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I like making compost with friends, time goes quickly, you learn new things (about each other and composting) and it’s fun. You also get to take silly photos.

compost ladies

Bridget and Bonnie – friends who compost together stay together

How can you tell when it’s getting hot? When starting out, get yourself a thermometer, that way you can learn what 60/65 degrees looks/feels like. Once you’re feeling comfortable with the whole process your eyes and fingers do the job well.

Compost appreciation

Sadly the camera couldn’t catch the compost steam we were admiring above, indicating that our compost pile was hot and ready to be turned.

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Here’s a photo from the Fork and Hoe Collective composting – the early morning light captured the compost steam beautifully.

We don’t cover our piles with any tarpaulins or carpet, we do put a thick layer of straw covering the whole pile to prevent the outside from drying out. However if you live in really high rainfall areas you may need to cover them to make sure it doesn’t get too drenched. We also make free-standing piles with no infrastructure required at all. This means they’re easier to make and turn.

How often should you turn it?

You need to turn the pile to make sure it ‘cooks’ evenly. When you actually turn it is determined by how quickly/slowly it reaches the desired temperature (60/65 degrees), this often happens within 24 hours, other times it can take up to 7 days days – it depends on the inputs. The books will generally say once a week, however the more obsessed you get with compost the more you will refine your practices.

Compost Activators

To help compost be the best it can be you can add compost activators – their job is to inoculate the compost pile with their nutrients, giving it a serious BOOST. Some of the common activators include some plants (comfrey leaves, dandelion, stinging nettle, yarrow leaves, tansy leaves) which all have especially high levels of key minerals. You can also use mature (healthy) compost which will be loaded with biology or road kill which will attract biology quick smart.

What does compost look like when it’s ready?

  • It’s the colour of 70% dark chocolate
  • It’s fluffy and has good ‘crumb’ structure, it doesn’t feel sticky/muddy or dry and sandy – it’s just right
  • When you squeeze a handful of it in your fist, one drop of water (no more) will come out of it – this indicates it has the right moisture content.
  • It smells sweet and earthy

hands-of-compost

Image from here

Nervous about composting food scraps?

Start small with a standard compost bin and follow the helpful guide below. Once you’ve got the hang of it, build yourself up to some hot composting – it’s super satisfying.

Compost sticker - GLP

Help, my compost is….

Really smelly: It’s too wet and likely to be anaerobic (not enough air), mix in more carbon materials, turn and a touch of lime will help bring it back into balance.

Infested with ants: It’s probably too dry. Add water; cover any exposed food scraps on top of pile with carbon and hessian/felt. Turn the compost.

Taking ages to break down: Not enough nitrogen materials, add more rich materials (food scraps, manure, green lawn clippings) and turn the pile to add more air.

Swamped with small black flies: Make sure you have no exposed food scraps (cover with carbon).

Home to rats and mice: Reduce the amount of bread and meat and if using a small compost bin (which isn’t hot composting) add vermin mesh on the bottom of the compost bin to prevent rodents digging under.

vermin mesh

Vermin mesh is sometimes used for bird aviaries, has really tough wire and very small squares ensuring that baby mice/rats can’t squeeze through. If you’re having trouble with rodents in your hot compost pile, turn it regularly and set some traps… If you’re into that kind of thing.

 

 

 

Interested in doing a hands on composting workshop?

We’re running one this Saturday 10th May, otherwise check out our list of future courses to see what’s coming up.

Resources

*Your blogger is Hannah Moloney, co-director of Good Life Permaculture and lover of all things fun and garden-esk.

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