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Garden Talks: Greensax Compost For Schools

greensax, compost for schools

It was towards the end of the schools calender that I did a series of composting garden talks with some of Dublin’s Primary Schools in association with Greensax.ie

Lasting 20 – 25 minutes I explained what happens to our green waste after the wheelie bin is taken away and how en mass, what happens in a normal compost heap is replicated. On a side note, the images of the maggots and the worms always got a yukky but brilliant reaction from the younger generation and some of the teachers.

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Garden Bargain: Fingal Co Co Composter Bins

Credit where it is due, I don’t think I have honestly ever seen compost machines or composter tumblers at these prices. They let me know, i’m letting you know. Very nice work by Fingal County Council if I’m honest.

In reality there are a few contained choices in which to compost your veggie peelings, garden clippings and the like. The first option is you take a trip to somewhere like Sonairte Ecology Centre and see the composting display area they have there. If however you dont fancy tying four pallets together ~ it may of course appear a little untidy, I highly recommend these by far prettier domestic versions.

The difference between the compost machine and the compost tumbler is little, as far as the compost is concerned ~ it will all rot down eventually ~ apart from the fact that the tipping is made easier.

My advice, buy one for your Dad and wrap a big bow around it.

Where do you go: Estuary Recycle Centre, Swords

Growing Seeds… Without Compost

I was asked about my thoughts on growing seeds and what compost type one should buy last week.

I have written many times on why I prefer were possible to sow my seeds, in particular when growing my own food stuffs as compost-less as possible. Whilst it is great to see the growing at home movement very much en vogue… I hope the big [logic] picture isn’t left behind.

This video summises my thoughts on the logic of this posts title quite well.

 

the umberella plant…?

My oldest brother came home from college one day with one of the little arrangements you get at Christmas time. My oldest sister bought it one day with her friend. 😀 anyhoo onto the plant….

I would have been about 9 years old I’d guess. Anyhow, the wee thing grew too large for the wee pot it was in and in the process it needed to be repotted.

At the time, I lined the inside of an old timber box and filled it with some compost. 23 odd years laters….my Mom gives it back to me!

The compost was absolutely spent and inert. It was merely a brown granule. The plant had grown long legged and the leaves fell off at a mere draft touching it.

It needed a new lease of life. I gave it one.

I ‘was told’ it was the umberella plant. I disagreed. I looked up the umberella plant in some of my reference books and came up with Schlefflera actinophylla…. so not far off the mark to be quite honest. But that’s a little akin to asking for ‘a Donegan’ and taking the one you thought looked like me – but it’s not ‘Donegan Peter’…. I hope that makes sense.

This plant is the Schefflera Gold Capella.

The foliage/ leaves are glossy green/ yellow variegated and palmate compound with 7-9 leaflets. Height & spread is a max of 10′. It rarely produces flowers.

They will grow in partial shade or good light and can survice well with irregular watering [if you are of a forgetful nature]. If you do need to repot should do so whilst its not producing new growth. Propagation is generally done by cuttings.

It’s a little naked at the moment. It’s just moved house, been amputated, shook around, trimmed and snipped… so it looks a little shaken… but it’ll be fine. I promise 😆

UPDATE: since writing this post about 2 months ago the last three images show the new growth that has appeared since it was repotted… and all the old coffee grinds I have thrown out on the top of the compost.

How To Water Seeds

To some how does one water seeds may seems like a silly question…. but to others it is the very simple things that most often are not explained due to assumption… more so on the horticulturists part. Try find any gardening book with how to water in the title….?

But, for years as a nipper I crushed and broke weak seedlings with large droplets from a watering can…. and it being the start of the growing season this dilemma has resurrected itself.

If you are sowing your seeds in trays that have perforations/ drainage holes on the base then we are in luck.

With your compost in the tray, slightly firmed…. place your seeds as preferred and drop the tray into a large container of water. As you can see here I have made really great use of my green bin that I did not want. You can of course use your brown bin if you wish

Capillary action [as it is called] is the process which will ensure the water is drawn up all by itself. You will see the compost turn from a dry brown to a wet dark black. Be careful here not to let the tray sink to the bottom and lose all your seeds… watched pots and kettles may come to mind but patience is the key. As soon as you see water just appear at seed level… you’re good to go. You can repeat his process as long as is necessary and as long as your seeds need to be in the plug tray.

If however your container does not have perforations… this is were it can get tricky.

These [left] are the ones I sowed for indoors. I don’t want drainage holes on them, because, they’ll leak all over the window ledges. And I can’t steep them… so…

The answer is to water the soil very well before putting my seeds on top. If I chose not to the compost bubbles up over the seeds and the seed sinks somewhere within the pile of mush 🙂

Watering of these is then done very gently. I myself like to used to use a Mr Sheen/ windowleen type misting bottle [you can’t go wrong this way] and wet them as necessary. Or I pour from a very small jug of water into my hands, held over the container and let the water trickle through my tightly gripped fingers.