If you haven’t got enough materials to make compost in Wellington at the moment, you never will have. It’s been wet and warm-ish so there are weeds, lawn clippings, chook manure, leaves and green manure crops to make a magnificent pile. Plus the waste from the kitchen and office. I use straw bales to surround the heap – they’re easy to set up in any size configuration, keep everything in one place, and make sure even the edges are warm and moist. Topped off with a piece of carpet, plastic sheet or tarpaulin to keep it warm, moist and keep out the rain. The ideal is to get the heap to at least 55 degrees C for five days. A compost thermometer is helpful. You can still make hot compost in a plastic or wooden compost bin – two are even better as the compost ends up about a third of the size of the original heap after a couple of weeks. This is your soil improvement for Autumn and Winter so if you invest the time and energy now, it will pay dividends later. I turn my heap after a week, water if necessary and then turn it again after a fortnight. It’s ready to use in a couple of months like this. We cover compost making in the fresh food garden course if you’re struggling to make yours work. The last courses for the summer, with special emphasis on the winter garden, will be on Saturday 30 January and 13 February 2010. You can book and pay on line or via direct credit.
Still feeding everything with seaweed or wormery tea once a week. Most crops are about a month behind last year. The side shoots of the tomatoes keep growing and even re-growing. Some of the tomato trusses even have shoots at the end of them – not sure what that’s all about. I sowed more seeds this week – possibly too late but if we have a good patch of sunny weather everything will come on well. I sowed some cabbage, broccoli, kale and cavalo nero ready for autumn and winter. If you use Dipel spray against cabbage white butterflies you need to be diligent about respraying after it rains.
More baking recently with raspberry and coconut friands, home-made chocolates and rhubarb and ginger muffins. Time at last for some zucchini fritters too. I’m hoping for enough zucchini and tomatoes to make some really good chutney from Digby Law’s Pickle and Chutney book.