Thursday, May 3, 2012

Manure, Worms & National Permaculture Day

Stable manure in desperate need of organic gardens!

We recently had a call from Annemarie Conroy from  Stony Creek Road (south of Daylesford) looking for eager organic gardeners in need of some extra materials for autumn composting. In the early years of Melliodora, the Conroy's horse stables were our main source of imported fertility that got our system happening.  These days we have so much organic matter and manure that we rarely have the need for more.

Over recent years we occasionally get a call from Annemarie. I feel embarrassed and have a sense of failure that after 25 years, there isn't a queue of home gardeners wanting to clean out the stables. It's certainly less convenient and a bit smelly compared to buying Dynamic Lifter or other commercial products but it's free and builds community connections. Maybe most gardeners are getting by with on-site organic materials but there is always good value in getting a more diverse mix of minerals that comes with high quality feed put through performance horses. If you have trouble mastering the art of hot composting, then stable manure from the Conroys (a mixture of manure and urine soaked bedding straw plus spilt lucerne and chaff) is about as good as it gets. Just heap it up in a pile at least one cubic metre, add some water to the layers and away it goes.

If the stables are long overdue for a clean out then it can be very compacted and anaerobic which gives off ammonia, making the job a bit of an initiation rite of passage. But if you survive this and come back on a regular basis you get the sweet soft material without losing any of the precious nitrogen as ammonia.

Apart from this, the Conroys are great down to earth people and you get to see fine horses at close quarters.

Anyway make me feel better about us becoming a more self reliant, connected and productive community by finding the time to make yourself a hot compost heap with stable manure and help Annemarie to sweeten up the stables. You can reach Annemarie  on 0409 388 790.

-David Holmgren

Upcycling Worm Farms 

Make your own worm farm to take home from a selection of recycled materials including wheelie bins, bath tubs, polystyrene boxes and old car tyres. Learn about how to best care for the hardest garden workers you will ever meet! Stinky household compost questions and dilemmas will also be answered.

A partnership with the Castlemaine Community House and Growing Abundance.
11am - 1pm $10 (includes a recycled worm farm with worms, made by you to take home)
Winters Flat Primary School, Roberts Ave, Castlemaine
To book contact Sas on 5472 4842 or

Unfortunately we have had to cancel our National Permaculture Day festivities this year. Thank you to everyone who contacted us with kind offers of stalls and support. We will definitely be calling on you next year!

Happy autumn all!

Love HRN

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