Saturday, 19 March 2011

A Tidy Desk

Or rather - Shed

Day 3 Friday 18th March

A bit of a slow start to the Garden project today - L6 got a Star of the Week award at school, so as a proud mother  I took J4 along to assembly (our first time) to see it awarded before the trip to childcare (car this time), and the bike shop for spare tubes.
By the time I got home from all the errands it was afternoon, and by rights sewing time.  But the garden is the main task, and I was really in the mood so.....

For the past little while, whenever I have needed something from the shed, I have risked life & limb climbing over all the stuff spread over the floor.
The shed is only new and we don't have any storage or benches in it yet, so things have just been dumped, basically.

I felt that I would be able to work more efficiently, and safely, if I tidied it up.  The camping gear was to move down to shelves in the garage, and the bikes up to the shed (which will also make the garage safer).
I used the wheelbarrow to transport things, trying to make sure it was full in both directions to minimise trips.
I am much happier with the outcome (below), than with my starting point (above).

While I was at it, I also started on pulling up the pavers underneath the front stairs.  This is where one of the tanks is going, and there is no point wasting them.  These filled the wheelbarrow on some of the upwards trips.  Though I could only manage 4 at a time.  Heavy!
You can see what it looked like before in the photo below.  This is looking from the side fence into our front garden - which is all natives, and mostly ones indigenous to Brisbane.  A tank of 3 to 4 thousand litres is going in under the deck here, and a 5 thousand litre one in the garden bed you can just see on the left lower corner.
With the tanks behind the shed we'll have at least 12 thousand litres to play with!  I am looking forward to that.
This is what it looked like afterwards.  I still have to rake the gravel over to cover the gaps.  The pavers weren't concreted in so were easy to lift.  Thankfully.

The Esky in the corner of the photo is over 40 years old.  It no longer keeps things cold for very long, so I asked my parents if I could have it - it is still watertight & airtight, and has its original bung.  So, much to Dad's disgust, it is now used to ferment weeds.
You see, you can't put weeds with seeds, or with tuberous or suckering roots, directly in the compost, as they will just grow again when you put the compost on the garden (unless you are hot composting, but few back-yard gardeners do this).  But you can put them in after they have fermented, because this process makes the seeds etc non-viable.

You just need a large watertight container with a well fitting lid, and preferably a tap at the base, but this is not essential.  Chuck your weeds in and cover them with water.  Close the lid & leave for 6 or so weeks.
After 6 weeks or thereabouts, the weeds will be sufficiently fermented to add to the compost heap, and the liquid, when diluted, is a great fertiliser.

You can keep adding weeds and water to this, I suggest wearing rubber gloves & putting a peg on your nose (or just breathing through your mouth might be more comfortable) - you know what silage smells like?  Well you will after you have stirred this brew up!

As the fluid is added you can drain some off to fertilise your garden.  Just make sure that there is still enough inside to cover the weeds.  Then just empty all the weeds into the compost when the container is full, making sure the last lot have been in at least the 6 weeks to kill the seeds.

I learnt about this from one of the free seminars on Sustainable Living that Brisbane City Council ran last year.  I went to about 4 of them, and all were fantastic!  I hope they run another series this year.
But in the book 'Fabulous Food from Every Small Garden' by Mary Horsfall (CSIRO publishing) she says, when talking about Green Weed Tea that you can use it after 2 -3 weeks.  She doesn't mention when you can add the weeds to the compost though, so I am going to stick to the 6 weeks for that.  Another site says not to leave the liquid too long, or it will be too decomposed to use as a high-powered fertiliser.

I borrow this book from the library after seeing it at one of the seminars mentioned.  I renewed it a couple of times, read it from cover to cover, and then bought my own copy to keep.  I highly recommend it.  Although it doesn't make it obvious it only talks about organic gardening. Suits me.

Back to the task - I did manage one more job before pick-up time for J4. Laying some of those pavers out in a path from the top of the grass ramp to the shed side door.  They haven't been properly bedded in yet - wanted to contemplate placement for a while.
What do you think?
Planning a challenge for Monday - time to get on to those no-dig beds!
Bye for now

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