Of baths and compost bins

Old second-hand baths are really useful. I’ve got two now. Both are used to store extra water and both are also used to grow duckweed and azolla, which are scooped out and added to the compost bins or the worm farms, or simply used as mulch around seedlings.

Duckweed and azolla are floating water plants and in the warmer weather can be incredibly prolific, doubling their mass in a matter of days. The quickest way to grow green stuff and all it needs is a body of water and a weak supply of nutrients. Beware of adding too much—azolla can be killed very quickly by excess nutrients. I usually just add a bit of worm ‘wee’ from the worm farm. Incidentally, azolla has a neat trick—it can take up nitrogen from the air, so is a rich source of this element.

azollabath

I usually make compost by putting soft green material through the mulcher and putting it into one of the worm farms or the compost tumbler.

Anything that’s too hard to mulch, weeds, or miscellaneous stuff like vacuum cleaner dust, goes into a wooden bin that holds about a cubic metre. Here the stuff is left to moulder away slowly, aided by worms and slaters and the occasional family of mice.

When the bin filled recently, I topped it off with a layer of soil and some pea straw, watered it and left it. When I discovered I had too many seedlings to find room for in the main garden, it looked so inviting that I shoved the excess in there. They’re doing well, not surprising, since somewhere in there there’s a bag of chook poo that someone gave me, that had set like cement and I couldn’t do anything with it.

compostbox

There’s lettuce and wild rocket, 3 different varieties of pumpkin and 3 of cucumber. I expect them to trail happily over the edge. A few potato plants have since appeared and some yarrow and nettles are growing through the sides of the box.

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