how to breed your own garden workforce-for free
Few things match the satisfaction of producing your own fantastic compost teeming with enthusiastic, often microscopic help with which to improve the quality of your soil. I bring in all manner of extra ingredients from outside my plots to improve the nutritional quality and bulk. There is a lot of literature on compost making, so my aim here is to give you a few salient tips. If you can find these things to add in they will greatly increase the potency of your mix. Gather them before they flower or seed, when they contain their peak of nutrients; Nettles for nitrogen, Comfrey for potash and bracken are fantastic. Chop them into 4″ lengths with a spade to speed decomposition.
If you can arrange access to a local brewery, spent Hops are superb ingredients. Don’t spoil it with a lot of fallen leaves, keep them separate for leaf mulch which takes much longer to mature.
I add plenty of animal dung and lime in layers. Poultry dung is good but pigeon is by far the richest in nitrogen, but any farm or stable manure will be beneficial. If you can, collect your own pee in a bucket of straw and add that too. Apparently mens is better than womens,(we’ll let them have that one).
There is plenty of advice on building heaps, the bigger the better. Any heap below 4 feet cubed is better matured in a container. Don’t forget that air flow is essential and moisture must be retained but allowed to drain freely. so build on top of a layer of coarse twiggy material. Cover with at least 4″ thick layer of grass cuttings to insulate and activate it. Your compost heap is a living breathing entity and so needs all the elements which help sustain normal living conditions….Food, Warmth, Water and Air. If it’s open to the weather, a protective breathable overcoat will be needed, use bracken or straw held down with chicken wire or carpet.
In this perfect environment our worms and micro-life will be feeding and breeding leaving a wonderfully friable material whilst multiplying exponentially,creating a dedicated work-force of millions.