Compost on the Critical Path

I sowed a bunch of seeds back on March 7th. Some of them, mainly the lettuce and rocket, were ready to get out of their planters (left) and into the ground this week. But before I could plant the seedlings out, I needed to prepare the beds and that means I needed compost.

The compost hasn’t been emptied for over 6 months and there was a lot of it. The top layers were all very new, since we returned from Germany, but the bottom half was home-made dirt and ready to get out of its box.

Frank has spent 3 or 4 days sifting and shifting compost and doing maintenance on our bin so I could get my hands dirty in the veggie beds.

The pile above is round 2. Round 1 (our small black compost bin) was done a few days ago and yielded a couple of wheel barrows full. With this 2nd lot of compost, I have enough to rejuvenate all our beds (and then some).

Besides giving me a pile of lovely compost, Frank gave our hens quite the feast of grubs and beetles. When he’d shovel a pile of compost onto the sieve, the grubs would roll to the ground and he’d scoop them up and trot over to the chook run. It was first come first served and the girls became quick off the mark when Frank started towards them. There was a bit of keep away played after one scored the snack but no quarrels. He also gave them a box full of unfinished compost which has become quite the in-coop attraction. The chooks all take their turn at climbing up and having a dig around.

Not only did I need the compost, I also needed something to keep Tash, the neighbour’s cat, the bandicoots and the possums out of my veggie beds. The seeds I sowed directly into this bed on March 7th were all killed. First the bandicoot dug through the bed and then Tash turned it into a litter tray. Grrr. So Frank made me a box out of chicken wire and old slatted blinds. This box is perfect for leafy greens. I think the lettuce (99% iceberg, the cos lettuce just didn’t germinate) and the rocket will be happy here.

My cauliflower seeds all (or almost all) sprouted which means I had too many for my planter. I’ve put 2 into the ground and temporarily protected them with chicken wire off-cuts. They’ll get pretty big so will need something more substantial soon. I’m tired of having possums, bandicoots and cats destroy my produce and all my past attempts with brambles, coffee grounds, smelly stuff… proved to be almost completely ineffective so I’m getting more assertive this year.

Besides transplanting out the lettuce, rocket and cauliflower seedlings, I also put some lettuce and rocket into small pots to give to friends. Then I moved some of the “leftover” iceberg lettuce into the pot with “surplus” rocket seedlings because that tray is on hold anyway waiting for the red onions to get big enough to plant out (they grow VERY slowly).

Finally, I’ve sown more seeds. In the orange long pot above I sowed kohlrabi and silverbeet. In the green oval pot I sowed thyme, coriander and dill (three plants I’ve had ZERO success with). The herb pot is destined for the kitchen and I’m hoping it will do better there than any of these herbs have ever done in my garden.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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6 Responses to Compost on the Critical Path

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