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Hot Composting: Turn your garden waste into precious soil

Are you sick of buying your compost in single use plastic bags?

Sick of trying to work out which brand is less harmful?

Maybe you're looking for a way to cut back on your expenses, by cancelling your garden waste collection and learning to turn ALL your weeds into healthy soil?

Perhaps you've done some courses, been to some market gardens to learn to grow food like a pro, but didn't learn how to apply their methods in your home garden setting?

If the answer to any of those is yes, then you're in the right place.

Here at Blue Borage, we are dedicated to helping more people enjoy making exquisite soil.

Come and join in the fun!

Hot composting is a little different to using a plastic compost bin or worm farm. It's not difficult once you get the hang of it, but there are a few tips to help make sure you are making great soil in your garden. Hot compost is a great way to deal with garden waste - if you are most interested in dealing with food scraps, then I recommend worm farming or a rodent-proofed compost bin instead.

Once you've got the hang of this hot composting method, then you can incorporate food scraps, but for starters I recommend mastering the technique with just garden waste.

Why do I get so excited about compost?

It came as a surprise...

I used to fill the boot of my car with bags of compost, potting mix, container garden mix, and somehow felt that was 'better' for the garden because an expert had made it.

And I used to stuff the weeds from the garden into an unused corner of the section, and use my compost bin 'tardis' style - always adding food scraps, but never getting much soil to use in the garden.

Hot composting changed all that, and I'd love to show you how you too can make use of everything in your garden to make healthy soil.

Course Content

Learn what to gather, where to build your compost, how to build it, and what to expect when you open it up.

In this course I show you how to use the Biodynamic Compost Preparations. These are sold by the biodynamic association of New Zealand, but aren't essential to learn the actual method - they are like the icing on the cake when you want to get the extra softness and what some call 'intelligence' that is characteristic of biodynamic compost.

The videos are quite short, but give you enough information to get you started with your own hot compost.

Why short videos? To be honest, I would rather you were out in the garden making compost and not watching me talk about it for hours and hours.
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  Step One: Plan for efficiency
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  Step Two: Gather materials for your hot compost
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  Step Three: Build your hot compost pile
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  Step Four: Use your compost
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  Original content from the first version of this course
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  In situ composting: case studies
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  Composting around the world
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You don't need a fancy compost bin - honestly

Here's an example of an in-situ compost pile, which later became a garden bed (three months after the compost was built)

If you are someone who wants to both improve your soil and also maintain a tidy garden, then this method is well worth your time and attention.

In situ compost

You can use this method to build compost right where you want a garden bed. This is SO EFFICIENT!

Once you get started, you may start wondering why so many people are paying to have their garden waste removed, and then paying again to buy soil in plastic bags.

This method of composting really is walking the talk of what it means to be circular.

No special equipment needed

You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy compost enclosure. What's needed is the right building technique.

Small piles can still be effective

A little pile like this might not get very hot, but it will still hold a surprising amount of garden waste.

Not included in this course: the biodynamic compost preparations

I use these six herbal remedies to enhance my compost. They are available to purchase wholesale from the Biodynamic Association of NZ if you are a member, or you can approach a biodynamic grower in the area where you live.

The hot composting method still works without these six compost preparations, and I sometimes recommend mastering the technique before adding in the biodynamics - so you can really see the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Do I need a big compost system before I can do this?
No, I'll show you how you can make a free standing pile, or how to use something as simple as shipping pallets as a temporary wall. If you have a large compost system (one cubic metre minimum), then you can also use this method in that system.

2) Will you show how to make the biodynamic compost preparations?
No, but I will show you how to use them. I get my compost preparations from the Biodynamic Association of New Zealand, and while I am learning to make them wherever possible, it's going to be many years before I master it.

3) What if I don't have the biodynamic compost preparations. Is this course still useful?
Yes it is. I add the compost preparations to about half of my compost piles. They add a little more softness, and the compost will also break down into a finer consistency, but you can make perfectly good compost without the biodynamic compost preparations. In some ways, it would be interesting to master the method before using biodynamics, so that you can really see what difference they make.

Perfect for schools

This is an example of a primary school where the children were involved in building the hot compost.

The highlight seems to be watching the temperature change in the week or two after building the pile.

It's like magic!

There's more help available if you want 1:1 guidance....

I offer remote Zoom coaching, and if you are in driving distance of Auckland, then I can come out and make compost with you as a special package.

Would you consider hosting a compost party, and including your friends and neighbours?

The options are unlimited - email me your suggestion at [email protected]

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