Heritage Garden · Tips and Tricks

What a load of rot!

stack em on, fill em up

Whether you’ve got a few herb pots balancing on your window sill or a jungle at the back of your house, the fruits of a bit of gardening are enormous.

But are you clever with your compost or a novice when it comes to plant nourishment?

All living things need nutrients, so in our gardens we need to feed them occasionally. Compost is one way of doing this. Basically compost is plant matter that we give a helping hand to speedily rot down to a state which plants can use again for growth. It also has the added advantage that it improves the physical properties of the soil your plants are growing in; it increases water retention, improves aeration in the soil and better structure for root growth to name a few of the main ones.

So it is great for your plants. It also means you have something to do with all your cuttings, dead plants or dead bits of plants, dead cut flowers, tea bags, skins or cores from fruit rather than just throwing them into the bin.  It is also cheap to produce and will burn a few calories in the process.

At Nature Seychelles with our Heritage Garden and the nature reserve we have a lot of composting to do.  So we have been testing a new technique that can reduce by up to two thirds the time needed to turn your garden “waste” into powering plant food. The great thing about this technique is that not only is it very effective, it is also cheap, very easy to do and has great environmental benefits. I can hear all your little eco warrior hearts beating with excitement from here! On our road to revolutionising rot we reached for some rubber….tyres to be exact.

Stack em on, fill em up
It’s simple when you think about it, they absorb heat fantastically (highly desirable  when you are composting), stack up well and quickly, without the need of further support (to a sensible height, ours are at chest height), they are water proof so the compost does not dry out (sometimes a problem here), they are extremely durable, they are free (you can only retread tyres so many times) and you benefit the environment (old tyres are just landfill fodder).

Once the tyres are stacked, you fill them up and cover so rain doesn’t get in, this does mean an occasional watering is necessary. The rest is the same as basic composting, like the turning every two weeks which is very easy to do with the tyre stack.

The only possible down sides people might mention are that they are unsightly and you may get a bit dirty pulling them about. Well people tend to screen compost heaps anyway so you can do this or you can show off your innovative, speedy rubber rotting heap with the pride of a beaming eco warrior. As for getting dirty well I don’t know many people who do normal composting in their Sunday bests.

And to your composting, add music
Because lots of people sing when they are composting. (Okay, this part is optional).

Rolling, rolling, rolling
Cause the treads are balding
Keep them tyres rolling
Rotting

Filth and muck no scrubbing
no hope of clubbing
Wishing my gal would let me close

All the things I’m missin’
Good vittels, lovin’, kissin’
I’m hoping I may get once I’m clean

Stack em on, fill em up
Fill em up, stack em on
Stack em on, fill em up
Rotting

Pull em out, turn em in
Turn em in, pull em out
Pull em out, turn em in
Rawhide… I mean rotting

(with thanks to the Blues Brothers).

Robin.

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