Friday, July 5, 2019

Update on Compost

New structure, next to the bridge

I first introduced our new compost gully, on the other website, over a month ago. You would have seen it posted on this blog, just yesterday though. I wanted to update, how we're still tweaking the design using more sapling trunks. David installed a teepee structure, to help support the pumpkin vine. It's still growing quite well, during winter. I think the warmth from the compost breaking down, helps.

Still in the middle of winter, the local weather station recorded 25 degrees Celsius (77 F) yesterday. I'm sure it was a little warmer, here though. So it's not surprising the pumpkin vine, isn't showing signs of winter damage, just yet. It really should be colder, for this time of the year though.

Going vertical

This teepee is designed to help the pumpkin vine, grow up and off the ground. It may not spare it from frost damage, but will help avoid disease born from moisture. Given this is a run-off area in the wet, we're planning for any early spring rains, which might bring water through the gully. We really want this vine to succeed (as we love home grown pumpkin) so need to make contingencies for all scenarios.

So far, it seems to be a happy and healthy pumpkin vine, as demonstrated by it's quick fruiting:

In flower

Unfortunately, I didn't see any male flowers out this morning, so the fruit may not get pollinated. I'm just hoping, I missed a rogue male flower. But what are the chances of that happening? Ever the optimist, I'll keep my fingers crossed, until it turns yellow and falls off the vine. At least I know it has the potential to bear fruit.

Spring isn't too far away (a month and a half) so I'm sure the male flowers, will be much more prolific by then.

Growing taller

The hugelkultur tomatoes, which emerged from the compost, are growing bigger too. With no signs of frost damage or disease just yet. I noticed the pumpkin vines on this side of the bridge, however, have almost stopped growing. Probably because there's less compost on this side. We first started dumping compost, on the other side of the bridge. More compost, means more heat generated.

The tomatoes don't seem to mind the cooler temps though. It's not holding them back at all. I can see more teeppee structures being built, to support the tomatoes. Not bad potential for food production, from a casual experiment.

Fruit scraps

Speaking of experiments, David tossed in an old pineapple we didn't get to eat in time. Maybe it will bring forth more fruit? Of course, pineapples are notorious for taking forever, to bear fruit. But why not see if it succeeds anyway? It's all just scraps from the compost.

Actually, taking the food scraps out of the traditional compost bin, and seeing how it integrates (and changes) with the garden, has shifted the way I now view food scraps. There's potential to make an edible garden, from what we no longer consider, edible. The parts that need to break down, will. Which turns into the valuable compost, the emerging plants feed on. All on the same piece of ground.

Talk about lowering your carbon footprint, in food production. There's no energy used between the waste, and production side.

Double barred finch

It's more like how native animals, interact with the growing landscape. Birds in particular. They eat seed, partially digest it, then drop what's left to emerge somewhere new. Only the most viable seed will emerge in that location. The rest will simply turn into compost. So it's a true test of natural selection, for viable seed. The volunteers emerging from such residual compost, will always be the most vigorous.

Which is why I love to learn from natural systems. Because where you are located, is where you end up planting. A lot of the general rules of gardening, won't always apply in different locations. Not even on the same piece of property. By partnering food waste with a natural growing system, however, you get a better chance of success. Because what will emerge, is designed to succeed in that location. Or it won't emerge at all.

What better way to get an abundance of seed to experiment with, than through food scraps?


  1. I have a few plants in my garden which I did not plant, it's great to see nature at work.

    1. Nature can sure surprise us, and it's wonderful when we get to experience the transformation. Glad to hear your garden is blooming in surprising ways too.

  2. I love this post. It's thinking outside the box in such productive ways. Win - win.

    1. Thanks Leigh. I wasn't expecting to learn so much from our little experiment. I guess nature always thinks outside the box though. ;)


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