Compost Tumbler

On Saturday morning I saw a Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler on special at the local garden center, over $50 off the original price so it came home with me.

After opening the box and reading the instructions, the contstruction was simple. Only needed a 10mm spanner, a phillips head screw driver and  a shifter to put it together and total build time was about 20 minutes.

In the past I have looked around online for a set of instructions to build one, but with limited time these days a purchase was much easier. Here are a couple of links to some great DIY Compost Tumblers: DIY Compost Tumbler DIY Compost Tumbler #2

I’ve just mowed all of the lawns to create something to compost and the bin is only half full. As a supliment and to kickstart the composting process, a couple of handfulls of Dynamic Lifter (chicken manure pellets) and Seasol (Seaweed emulsion) were added.

The instructions in the box say that the bin should be tumbled every two to three days to produce compost in four weeks, but I will be tumbling every day to try and speed things up!

Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler

Here is my new Compost Tumbler with my two dogs, Taylah (German Shepherd Dog) and Abby (Daschund X).

Potato Bin – Build Stage

After reading Lifehacker the other day, a little motivation crept in to build a new bin and grow my own potatoes again. This will be a multi post project that will document all the stages from planting to growing!

Years ago I grew many kilograms of potatoes in a stack of old car tyres with great results, but some became rotten when they sat inside the lip of the tyres in water that had collected.

The Parts:

I obtained a few old partly broken pallets a few months back for free from a local supply company. Not sure what I was going to do with them, the were left in a stack up the back yard to slowly rot and split in the sun. My dog Abby liked to chase the lizards that would hide in them. After a long stressful day at work, I felt the need to destroy something (the pallets) and make some noise.

After ripping the nails out and cutting the planks in half (~55mm), a few nails and a bit of sweat later the frame work had been knocked up. My wife even came out to see what the comotion was about and stayed to nail most of it together. She is quite handy when she wants to be!

Potato Bin

Take no notice of my carpentry skills! Think that may be why I am a geologist and not a tradesman.

So where to now?
Firstly the bin needs to be placed on some weed free soil, and filled with some soil which is rich in organic matter (about level with the top of the bottom board). The seed potatoes will be planted in this soil, then topped off with some straw.

Once the potatoes have started to grow, new boards will be added to the edges and the bin filled with straw up to the top of the new boards. By using straw, the potatoes will grow in a dirt free environment which will save you time in the kitchen (no dirty spuds to wash!), it also makes for easy picking as you can fish through the straw to find the potatoes!

My Garden Survived

After three weeks away getting married and on our honeymoon, my garden has survived an average top temperature of 35 degrees C.

There have been a couple of casualties, but nothing that was not expected, and a couple of nice surprises.

My Arrowroot plants have been belted around by the wind a fair bit and coupled with a reduction in water, they have now had a big prune and a large drink to reinvigorate them. The leaves and stems which are high in nutrients, with the leaves and shoots containing 10% protein, have been used to mulch my other garden beds.

My tomato plants which were fruiting well when I left are now fruiting even better! I think that is due to my neighbor keeping a special eye on them and watering them regularly so she could get a supply of fresh tomatoes for her kitchen!

My passionfruit vine is looking very sick and sun burnt. I think a couple of shoots from below the graft have gotten away from me and are not producing fruit. A job for this week is to prune hard, feed lots and water well.

I have discovered an outbreak of a sticky seeded weed ground cover in my lawn. Each plant has spread to be around 1m round, and the seeds are sticking to the dog’s fur which will spread them nicely! A huge campaign of removal was done yesterday afternoon, but there is still a large amount of seed left on the ground which will require management when they germinate.

Overall I am very happy with the state of the yard, there is plenty of work to do but I have a 4 day long weekend comming up!