Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate

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MikeHardman

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2013, 09:46:28 PM »
Gore-Tex and such-like - yes -- which would be expensive, true.
Letting the rain in - well, I guess you could have some holes in the bottom of the bag, and have it sitting in a large saucer - so the rain would get in by capillary action from the bottom (along creases, etc.) without letting it evaporate later (or barely so).
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 01:00:39 PM by Alisdair »
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

Trevor Australis

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2013, 07:11:56 AM »
I meant to give my answer to the matter of making compost in a Med climate but New Year intervened :)

I don't bother. We keep all green waste from our garden but for tree branches and thick stems. I used to put it through a shredder/ mulcher but gave that away too. I detest the noise made by our many neighbours who shred, mow and blow just when I want to nap, relax, read, sit outside with friends and drinks etc so I figured the best thing to do was set the example. I just stopped using the noisy smelly machine.
Now I/we make all our green waste into a rough hand cut mulch using secateurs etc. We usually let if fall where it drops. At first it acts like mulch but within 6 months it gradually turns into compost and evetually it would disappear but for us continuing to make more. In effect it is pretty much like what happens in the natural bushland here-abouts. I have a lad who helps me in the garden. He has few natural gardening talents but he can cut stuff up - and he does which is a great help in managing green waste on site. I find I have a few ethical problems about paying to have it taken away to be dumped on someone else's land and then paying again to buy it back as garden mulch or compost.
Neat freaks may have difficulty accepting such an approach but we like it. The coarse nature of the stuff makes it the preferred home to lots of small skinks.

45 degrees here the day before y/day sio all those who saw my lush peonies during the GA tour can't say ours isn't a Med garden. We've had no rain at all since you were here in Oct. :(
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 01:00:52 PM by Alisdair »
M Land. Arch., B. Sp. Ed. Teacher, traveller and usually climate compatible.

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JTh

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2013, 10:51:31 AM »
Trevor, I like your views on composting. There has been a long discussion here on mulching or not, but I have noticed that bushes which had a hard time surviving in the beginning, were doing much better when they finally started to produce their own mulch, then they were able manage on their own. So why not copy nature and leave the green waste where it was produced?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 01:01:05 PM by Alisdair »
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS and Branch website editor. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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Alisdair

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2013, 04:04:25 PM »
Jorun, I've noticed that with shrubs too - but can never be sure whether they are at last doing better because of their self-produced mulch, or whether at last their roots have got down deep enough to produce the extra top-growth and thus the mulch!
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 01:01:17 PM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

Trevor Australis

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2013, 12:10:24 AM »
Alisdair may remember visiting the Waite Arboretum during the GA in Adelaide. The Curator and staff there spread shredded tree branches and dried gum leaves in thick carpets under all the trees in the collection to the extent of the drip-line and beyond. The trees get no irrigation after they are established and are doing really well. I think Alisdair will agree that the arboretum looks in good condition.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 01:01:30 PM by Alisdair »
M Land. Arch., B. Sp. Ed. Teacher, traveller and usually climate compatible.

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westyboy

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2013, 10:24:47 AM »
Thanks for your input Trevor

I would not be able to just cut and leave. Personally I like everything in its place, and that would not bode well.
I too was disappointed with the shredder, ( I was expecting big things) I ended up cutting everything down to a smaller size before putting it in the compost bin. I have placed a black membrane sheet over the compost bin. Which allows me to water it without removing the sheet. Then once a month I will turn it.

Heres hoping  ::)

Roy
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 01:01:42 PM by Alisdair »
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Having spent years gardening in the South of England. I thought I was alone struggling with my Mediterranean garden.
Then one day I stumbled upon The MGS and it looks like all my questions can be answered.

David Bracey

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2013, 01:57:34 PM »
I used to turn my compost until I slipped a disc doing it! Now I don!t bother and the compost is just as good.

As far as letting Litter build up a couple of comments. Not a god idea for roses, apples etc where diseases will overwinter. Also some Callistemons produce chemicals which will inhibit plant growth.

THe garden we bought was full of mature evergreen oaks and the resulting leaf litter was many cms thick.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 01:01:56 PM by Alisdair »
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 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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Alisdair

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2013, 03:21:27 PM »
I can certainly back up what Trevor says about the Waite Arboretum - magnificent growth. (Only problem seems to be that the sheep they used to keep the ground growth down have now been banned, so weeds/grasses now make the most of that "automatic compost/mulch"....). Here's one little corner:
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 01:02:11 PM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

Alice

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2013, 07:21:56 PM »
Re compost making: we have erected a circular metal frame, made from what we think is concrete re-enforcing mesh, and surrounded it with olive netting and plastic sheet. The diameter of the compost bin is about 1.5m and its height approx 1.3m. All the weeds we pull up go in there, together with kitchen waste. We leave it open to the rain in winter and cover it in summer with more plastic sheeting. We have connected it to our drip irrigation system and in summer it gets watered once a week. The middle of the pile produces some decent compost but the edges just dry up. The dry parts can of course be added to the following year's pile.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 01:02:21 PM by Alisdair »
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Duncan

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Re: Composting
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2013, 11:58:46 AM »
There is an MGS produced leaflet on the subject of composting which provides an excellent summary of 'dos and don'ts'

Has anyone any experience of using worm compsters?

Regards, Duncan

David Dickinson

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2018, 03:52:42 AM »
Several years later... How are you all getting on with your composting. I have started a small pile. No idea really what is happening as I am loathe to turn it. I remember my father almost spearing a Great Crested Newt to death which was hibernating in the warmth of the compost heap in our family garden in Leeds.  But things do seem to be happening.

Which is more can be said for my request for a composting bin from AMA. AMA are responsible for, among other things, rubbish collection in Rome. Good news is that they provide free composting bins and a reduction in local rates for those who have a garden and compost. Bad news is that they haven't even registered my name at the new address yet let alone begun to process my composting rebate request. Perhaps I am being a little hard on them . After all, it is only just the beginning of my 3rd year of waiting :-(

Any new tips on composting learnt over the yeats since the last posting would be useful.
I have a small garden in Rome, Italy. Some open soil, some concrete, some paved. Temperatures in winter occasionally down to 0C. Summer temperatures up to 40C in the shade. There are never watering restrictions but, of course, there is little natural water for much of June, July and August.

Umbrian

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2018, 09:02:30 AM »
After moving to our new house in town I was a little nervous about having a compost heap for fear it might attract vermin and not wanting to upset either neighbours or the local council who do appear to  make great  efforts to keep the very old " Centro Storico" area in which we live as clean as possible. However, old habits die hard and I could not face putting all my lovely vegetable peelings and suchlike into the organic waste bins provided. My heap is inspected regularly and thankfully I have never seen evidence of unwanted visitors although the blackbirds always arrive during "inspections" to plunder the worms.  The results are small, the garden waste being much less due to the greatly reduced size of my new garden, but I do feel it worth while and follow the same course of action as described both by myself in a previous post and fellow compost makers, covering the pile during the hot summer months and watering it occasionally.
I recently posted about my great success with leaf mould that I do separately - such a joy to use and all for free if one has patience.
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

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John J

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Re: Composting in a mediterranean climate
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2018, 09:55:15 AM »
We found the usual problems with conventional compost heaps and abandoned them. We use a similar method for green waste to that described by Trevor, what I tend to describe as 'chop and drop'. For kitchen waste we use a method I saw in the vegetable garden of one of the major hotels in Morocco on one of the MGS trips there. They dig a trench and throw the kitchen waste into it, then they cover it over by digging another trench alongside, and so on and on. The soil is kept moist as the surrounding areas are irrigated and worm and soil micro-organism activity breaks down the waste.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)