We Have The Foliageology To Rebuild!


The organic gardener does not think of throwing away the garbage. She knows that she needs the garbage. She is capable of transforming the garbage into compost, so that the compost can turn into lettuce, cucumber, radishes, and flowers again…With the energy of mindfulness, you can look into the garbage and say: I am not afraid. I am capable of transforming the garbage back into love.

Nhat Hanh

We Have The Foliageology To Rebuild!

Step 1

Season 3 – Autumn/Winter 2019/20

Doin The Dirt Directory

None of us are – ever too small to make a difference, we can make an impact!

Rory Matier

The image above probably doesn’t warm the cockles of every one of my readers  and l can accept that actuality – but to those who are gardeners, vegetable gardeners and flowers growers alike the image above is the start to new life and that is a very lovely thing indeed!

The image above is actually the first ‘base layer’ to the new 2019/20 compost heap. Composting is an activity that l actually seriously enjoy and find a lot of both fun and deep satisfaction with. Principally, the crafter is taking a shit load of rubbish [sometimes literally] and through careful manipulation and skill and some TLC is going to make something remarkable with it!!

It is a case of turning one person’s rubbish into that same person’s treasure!!! This is the start to creating ‘black gardener’s gold!’ That is the term for compost, a growers true friend!

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Last week, l finished off transferring the old broken 2017/2018 heap into the standing 2018/2019 heap to make one solid old compost heap which will be the basis for our new 2019/2020 compost heap which was started last week….

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2019/2020 heap starting with bracken and green layers – garden waste…

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… comprising of old leaves, deheaded flower blooms and bush trimmings.

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At this stage of the heaps life just keep adding to the layers always thinking, green layer, brown layer,  green layer, brown layer and bracken layer.

If it is a new pile, then this means simply put one layer of green foliage like garden trimmings or lawn clippings, one layer of brown foliage like old leaves or rough root stems and one layer of bracken which is food wastes, shavings, fire embers, sawdust, small broken twigs and so on. Weave the layers together in an alternative pattern. Once five layers are together – water them down deliberately – try not to leave the compost heap uncovered too much during its lifetime as it will effect its ability to decompose down quickly and turn into a wet mass and mulch.

If like me, you have one standing heap and are building an alternative heap – then you need to try and get your new heap existing first with regards it’s own microorganic life before adding the older heap onto top of it. The long game plan is to start the new heap and then transfer the old heap to the top of the new heap – where once achieved you will have one heap total. New heap at the bottom, old heap on top. When the first turn of the heap arrives then you are turning the heap over [into empty pen] and the old heap is now at the bottom with the new heap back on top of sorts as it will now slowly start to mix with the old heap content.

But when l am starting to build a new base layer l try and give it as much as l can to encourage and motivate the decomposition process before turning begins which will start to aggrevate the heat process.

At this time of year l am creating both green layers and brown layers …

Green layers comprise – garden trimmings, lawn mowings, pruned bushes, old vegetable wastes …

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The 2019 pepper plants are now for the heap …..

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Each pepper plant as an example is not just thrown in whole, but taken from the pot [obviously],  cut down stem wise to the dirt, all leaves stripped off and the stems cut into smaller pieces to allow for a much quicker breakdown. The root ball is then broken up, and sieved and the ‘dirt’ is used to form a genuine brown layer for the heap. All our plants here are planted into a self home produced combined mixture of compost and compost dirt which is strong nutient base mixture which needs to be put back into the process to be recycled. The only thing l don’t personally keep is the dregs of the roots themselves.

Root ball, broken up and then sieved – root dregs thrown out, but finely sifted compost dirt is added to the heap.

Finely sieved compost dirt is added to the green layers in the new heap and can also be classed as a brown layer.

What l also tend to do at this stage of the game is as the season is closing down and we don’t use the bed’s compost for winter plantings is turn over and sieve the season’s beds and pots, and either add the dirts or the composts to the heap for the recycle process or to the bins ready for reuse.

The smaller beds especially always yield some nice earthworm stocks – most of the worms are Brandling Worms  but occasionally we see some real giants like the Blue Grey’s  and l keep these and put them into the new base heap. The heap once it starts to gain size and begins to be turned again with new waste matter being added continually will attract its own worms, but l just really like worms and keeping them safe, especially as l am digging up their habitats. But worms are one of the critical elements to the decomposition process with your compost heap.

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Sieving the beds down provides me with compost benefits such as earthworms, valueable microlife organisms [discussed in a later episode] compost ‘dirt’ [white bucket] and finely sieved compost [not shown].

Finally, before covering the heap up, l try and add in a ‘bracken’ layer which as l briefly discussed above at this stage of the game is kitchen wastes.


Here you can clearly see very defined layerings – green, brown and bracken. Worry not about putting ‘fuller vegetables’ into the heap ‘broccoli’ as you can break this down at a later date or the microlife will. Once everything is done, l dampen down the heap as required, cover up and close off till the next time l need to add materials in.

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In the next episode l’ll go into some of the tehnicalities of composting…

Anyway l’ll take my leave of you now

Thanks for reading everyone, till the next time …

A Guy Called Bloke Banner Doin the Dirt JPEG

Nature demands a gift for everything that it gives, so what we have to keep doing, is returning [leaves & compost materials] back to the soil, then we’re continuously giving the gifts to nature, because we have a return cycle.

Geoff Lawton

10 thoughts on “We Have The Foliageology To Rebuild!

  1. Nice post Rory. 😀
    Ya you don’t want to put roots in your heep but you can put them in a barol with dry grass and brown leaves and keep the water out and they will root down and not grow back up on you.


    1. Hey Dawn, that’s very true – works a bit like leaf mulch in so far as the rot down process. If someone has a spare barrel or area or even just a tub with a lid like an eco bin and its purpose is purely for the roots that is an excellent idea for complete recycle 🙂

      1. We recycled all plante material around the house and on the farm but roots were always a problem as they didn’t root down half the time and would come back in the spring.

        BY FOR NOW

  2. Brilliant post Rory! And so informative too! I still haven’t started my compost heap yet but planning to soon! When do you think the best time to start creating one would be? I read somewhere that autumn/winter is best… xxx

    1. Hey Suzi – yes now is an idea time and pending what you might want to start it with you are in many ways spoilts for choice.

      Autumn and winter are ideal times to start harvesting your compost worms too you can encourage your worms to the surface of the underside of your heap by when raining as an example going outside armed with an organic washing up liquid and squirting some onto the ground around your compost heap and this does wonders especially if you have some kitchen waste in the heap.

      But autumn means the last lawn mowing clippings, trimmings from end of season and fallen leaves … pending where you are you could go and collect leaves if you have any or offer to collect the fallen leaves from the neighbours gardens and this would form a really lovely bed to your heap acting as a first layer of brown.

      Quick answer October is a great month, November just as good, December harder to.

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