I do wonder if the world of composting worms and business will grow over time as people become more and more aware of just how valuable they are to our world.
Many of us know the benefits of Bees, but do worms get less noticed because they are not as cute, and usually hidden away.
I would say the answer is yes,,worms off all types have really had it tough over the years since the industrial revolution. We tilled up their soils, threw non biodegradable rubbish on top and leached toxins into the sub soils.
The “SOLUTION” to Help The Worms
There is Solution, and nearly all of us around the world can help to make a change one day at a time.
This can be done by improving the soils where they live and in return we as people will be greatly rewarded.
Worms are a part of the soil web and not only plough through the soil, but break down many of the elements in the humus layer. As compost worms eat and consume the humus, soil and decaying organic matter they produce a casting,,worm poop. Worm casting are water soluble and also contain many beneficial microbes which help the soil health and this is where we can play a huge role.
How can we do this? It’s fairly simple really. We need to stop adding chemical fertilizers to the soil and starting adding compost.
Compost improves soil structure, and as soil structure repairs itself so does the soil web. Also, by composting we are helping by slowing up waste going into landfill. Landfill produces methane “greenhouse gas” is actually well above cows for the amount it puts into the atmosphere.
LET’S SUPPORT LOCAL WORM FARMERS
The other way is to support local worm farmers and those who produce organic compost blends. Many of us don’t have the time to compost, or start a worm farm, but we still want to use it in the garden.
If that’s you then I would recommend you can consider taking that option and search for a local worm farmer online.
To be honest, I have never met a worm farmer yet that I didn’t like.
My Worm Farm Ebook
If you are considering taking the leap into worm farming you may want to consider taking a look at my Ebook,,,it has everything for the backyarder, right through to those who maybe considering taking it on a professional level.
URBAN MICRO FARMS WORMS AND RECYCLED COFFEE IS IT A GAME CHANGER FOR PLANET EARTH? This is the question.
Urban farming, which I like to call micro farming I believe is still in its infancy in Australia and around the globe?
I really believe it has such a long way to go.
As a collective community I know we can truly make a change and help others get out of the daily grime of working for the man.
By developing sustainable business models based around growing food in the city and countryside on small blocks of land, even indoors.
Currently I have been collecting as much coffee grounds as I can from a couple of local cafes.
I live in a small country town and man, just from two shops in the middle of winter I am able to collect well over 20 litres a day,,crazy right?
This amount will double, even triple soon as I expand.
If i do this everyday this pile is surely going to grow, grow, grow and grow!
Best part is it’s an awesome source of nitrogen and is very close to neutral,,slightly acid and perfect for composting and compost worms.
Coffee grounds also contains, generous amounts of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper.
CAN COLLECTING LOCAL COFFEE GROUNDS REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
I believe that this free resource will be a game changer for urban micro farmers and gardeners alike.
I know that many have been using it for years in their gardens and even to make bricks as fuel,,geez you can even make biochar with it.
TURN IT INTO VALUABLE COMPOST
Myself, I plan to compost it, feed it to compost worms and make a beautiful blend for my new micro farm.
It’s still early days yet,,but I believe it’s going to be a game changer..
I just need to sort out the carbon ratio of 1 part coffee grounds to 2 parts carbon.
RECYCLE AND REBUILD SOIL STRUCTURE
The concept is to be able to use as much recycled materials as possible,,as I want to be highly sustainable and lessen the impact on the planet.
Maybe you have some ideas about how to use this amazing free resource and how to use it in your garden or farm?
I would really love to hear what you have to say.
You could even sprinkle it on your lawn as a free fertilizer,,,now I got you thinking, right? My lawn is just sand, so I know what I plan to do over the coming months.
Looking forward to hearing what you have to say. Happy Gardening Marty Ware
My daughter Karin and I visited a new friends house yesterday..and I got this awesome photo of Karin with one of their backyard chickens,,so awesome!
So, I just had to share it here on my blog..
It’s been really nice, as we are starting to make some new friends locally since moving from our old stomping ground Byron Bay.
We now live at North Haven on the Mid North Coast of NSW and film on location and places that we visit for the Martys Garden show on YouTube
All I can say is “AWESOME” because I can’t find another word to take its place. Since making a decision in faith that I am going to chase my dream no matter long it takes, the community has been overwhelming to say the least.
I plan to unfold behind the scenes in my posts and videos, the steps of how I plan to make this amazing dream come to fruition, I know it will take a long time, but I want to enjoy the journey and not be in a rush to get there.
Photo: Karin feeding a very friendly goat!
“THE WINDING PATH OF DREAMS”
Today I was posting a comment under a youtube video and it got me thinking. I need to share more about what the final destination is,,because I really believe with all my heart that the community will be my guiding light to help Karin and me to get there.
Picture this, a three bedroom house set on an acre block, that provides a farm stay experience. There would also be a large shed that converts into a space to run workshops and host small events.
I could even run these events and workshops live for the world to see and directly from my channel.
The farm would be based on permaculture/ organic/ biodynamic practices and lets no forget my vertical micro farm systems that all run off grid, because that plays a huge role.
This style of vertical farming works on a large or small scale and is perfect for the small space gardener or someone who want to set up a backyard farm with very little costs.
The whole system has been trialed over a period of 5 years now and just keeps getting better every year. I know that with a collective mindset in the community, it can be improved on all the time.
“LET THERE BE CHICKENS”
Chickens would also play a massive role and live in a permaculture coop that not only feeds them, but produces a composted fertilizer that is nothing short of amazing. Oh, and lots of fresh eggs too!
Let me briefly explain
The chickens have an earth floor covered in a very deep fluffy mulch, such as sugar cane or straw. As they lay droppings the earthworms and a wide array of insects will slowly increase over time. Earthworms love fresh compost and chicken manure!
Then the chickens scratch and turn it over finding fresh food and turn it into a super friable nutrient rich compost. Much of this will then go out onto the farm as compost and into worm farms to make casting and worm teas.
Spent greens and fodder grown for the chickens will be thrown straight into the pen,,this fodder will contain many trace elements (minerals) that will be eaten by the chickens.
This will then be turned into chicken manure and locked into the system. Guess what we end up with, a super nutrient dense compost and worm castings that just keeps on getting better.
This recycled loop system not only improves the soil, but will be the building block to soil life, keeping pests at bay, nutrient dense plant life and everything surrounded by it will benefit,,even the wildlife.
Oh, yer and the food will taste amazing! I know, because I have eaten it,,,man oh man oh man is it good.
I am sure many will want to come and stay,,enjoy the farm and have an unforgettable educational experience
So, what’s in it for you?
As my daughter Karin and I take on this adventurous dream I plan to share many of my tips that I have already tried and put into practice over the years via video and in these post.
It will be a mixture of education, story, sharing and community. I plan to just write in here from my heart and put it all down just like I would if I was talking to your personally through conversation.
This will be for everyone from the market gardener (micro farmer) to the very beginner wanting to grow a few microgreens, fruits to trees to herbs and Tomato vines.
I also plan to share and discuss your interactions via video and posts as a collective community, as I know we all have a world of knowledge to share.
Awesome News For Martys Garden, Subscribers and all that love to grow food.
First, thanks to everyone who commented on my last post,,I truly do appreciate it, it truly does help me get to where I want to go, being the final destination of my dream micro farm/ education centre.
Anyway, here is the news. I spoke with Pepe from 5 sixty farms yesterday I am taking an 8 hour drive up to where he has his farm and shooting a series on micro farming/market gardening for my channel.
I am also filming a short documentary as well while I am there about what it’s like to be a micro farmer in this day and age how to start up yourself.
The whole family is going up, including, me Karin, Bobby the Cockatiel and Samsung Karin’s new pet Praying Mantis. The other one Lewis, passed of old age last week.
I plan to film and documentary from behind the scenes, so you will really get to see what it’s truly like to run such a business.
Pepe is a great guy and has a huge family, so it’s gonna be crazy!
We haven’t yet set a date to shoot the production,,but I would say in the next month for sure.
I am so excited,,I truly am, as it is something that I am super passionate about.
Anyways,,this is a quick update for you all that read my posts here. I am yet to mention this on my channel.
Lots of love to you all
Wow,,I must say I am so “STOKED” and excited to see that you guys are getting my posts..so cool. Things are really starting to step up here at Martys Garden, as I have had my head in the books working on a plan and how to get there. You see it’s all about my WHY!
Why do I do what I do, where do I want this to take me and most importantly how can I help others on a much deeper level?
(I recently started blogging again on my website as I knew that I needed to start documenting my journey outside of video. So most of the content regarding this content can be found there.)
THE SCARY PART: while doing this I realised that I had given up on my dream and it’s final destination.
The dream is to run an education centre/ micro farm as a business and help many others achieve their dreams too.
You see this is very hard to say,,,my excuse all the time were..I am tired of doing this all by myself.
That’s the truth,,,I have a serious illness (torticollis) which is now under control, I am still in pain everyday.
But, should that stop me from my dream,,now way!
I also, have more why behind wanting to achieve this goal,,my daughter and the responsibility I have for her.
We need to get out of the rent syndrome,,I spend over $300 a week on rent. That money should be going to much better use, right? Like this idea.
HOW CAN I ACHIEVE THIS GOAL?
I know now that I do not have to do this alone. I 100% believe and have faith in collective community and as a group can truly make this happen. I have accepted that I need help, to bring it to life.
A block of land,,approximately 1 acre set up as a micro farm retreat education centre. Teaching to the public a wide array of material from the backyard gardener to the budding micro farmer who needs a leg up.
People could stay there in accommodation and just lap it up.
With today’s technology there could easily be live events and classes that reach around.
This means that people outside of Australia who want to get involved can in an educational sense and for business.
Live workshops,,now that would be amazing!
This truly is just the beginning and for those who would like to be involved I am all ears. I really look forward to what you have to say..
Let’s band together and fly under the new banner of :Education, Sharing & Inspiring” and make this happen!
The video went over how the main mineral component in Epsom Salts are magnesium and sulphate and how in my eyes it’s better to use all the minerals in the garden that are available to you, than just two. I recommended in the video that viewers should consider using a wide array of minerals found in Rock dust for optimum plant health and growth.
Rock dust can contain up to 90 different minerals that support plant and soil health,,,where Epsom salts only contains two.
Anyway, the video takes it much further, but I think you get my drift. That is the content education section
In an up and coming video I am going to use the concept below to create content about using minerals as foliar spray, and share the written comment below in my video within the share section.
TO SHARE: After the viewers had watched the video mentioned above many left some wonderful comments. Woody from Woodys Home brew and allotment gardening channel mentioned how he used Epsom salts as a liquid fertilizer to spray the leaves on his plants. It was a great comment, because Epsom salts is highly soluble and can be easily mixed and applied.
However, about 30 minutes later I received another comment, which took the comment thread to a whole new level. You can read the comment below.
COMMENT AUTHOR: Michael Wellner
Hi Marty, Great advice on adding the rockdust to the compost. I have used it sprinkled on top of garden soils prior to planting much like Blood-n-bone this is best put on as the cooler weather approaches – there is a time delay affect and should be organically incorporated into the upper soil profile readily available for spring growth. Epsom salts used in a watercan dilution becomes immediately available to the plants on application – half the dosage if the weather is warmer always saturate the soil prior to application thus avoiding rootburn, especially if used on seedlings. I usually add Iron sulfate to solution at the sametime, the magnesium ions grabs the iron(ions) transporting to the foilage – the iron is deficient during the colder months as soil temp and moisture is decreasing. The lower soil moisture at low temp changes the soil pH and ion concentrate solution within the soil reverses the osmotic potential within the roots, which now need more reserves of sugar in which to pump the nutrients up to the leaves a vicious negative cycle which means the plant struggles through winter – there is less hours of light to produce the sugar needed & less iron for chlorophyll so magnesium helps mostly to awaken the plant when it wants to go dormant.?
Now, that is a BOMB comment and worth sharing in my next up and coming video, as it not only is valuable content, but it shows that I am listening to my subscribers and those who are watching my videos.
So, that would now cover the Educate & Share elements, but what about inspire.
TO INSPIRE is so valuable in my eyes, as it inspires the action to take place. So many watch a video about gardening a certain way, but do they actually take action?
Possibly in most cases no,,,the idea sounds great, but most just move onto the next cool idea.
What if I was to inspire them to take action and explain the benefits they would receive by taking action. Now that would make valuable change.
Then in a short while after taking the action they would see and benefit from the results applied. Hopefully in time the action becomes habitual and plays a part of the overall strategy for a successful garden.
To conclude: I am not really a writer, as I do have a form of dyslexia which makes it quite difficult to get all the right words down onto paper, so to speak.
However, I feel that if I write, as I would speak, then I believe I can get the message across that I want to say. I have a lot of plans for the future of Martys Garden and the engine entegral that EDUCATES, SHARES & INSPIRES.
This engine will be a part of all the content I create from now on, and has brought me a new spark in life.
My final destination is to soon own some land where I can run my show from, open up another micro farm on the same block and leave a legacy behind for others to follow. And most of all provide some stability for my daughter Karin.
I plan to blog about this very soon, as I feel by creating this type of content drives me to get to where I want to go.
See you next week, as I will be spending time with my mother of 79 years of age and my daughter this weekend. Keep an eye out for my next video coming out this weekend called Educate, Share & Inspire.
I have to admit, it’s been so long since I wrote a blog post. I have been so caught up in Vlogging about my garden on my Martys Garden channel I hadn’t made the effort to come in here.
Image: The Tomato Garden wink,,check out my channel for recent videos
Why? Well, I feel that so many people are stuck in their social media circles, tribes etc and don’t spend much time visiting blogs anymore.
But, that shouldn’t really be an excuse. I know that now, because this website I own it and every piece of content I put on here I have 100% control of, and it doesn’t get lost in some crazy social feed.
I knew that not coming in here and creating content was financial suicide, because you need to own and run your very own race on a platform you own.
So, here I am, back in the saddle, I own the race course and I am not the race horse.
MY GOAL, REASON & DESTINATION
My goal has always been to educate as many as I could about how to grow fresh food fast in Urban Places & Small Spaces, change lives by developing a fresh food culture and awareness that comes right from the backyard.
My reason for creating such content,,to help and change lives.
My destination, to finally run my show from my dream home and reach even more people about how easy it truly is to grow plenty of fresh food in a very small space.
I hope you can join me on this quest and learn along the way. I know I am learning more and more every single day.
Inside this post you will find content that takes Bale Gardening to a whole new level. Would you like to become a master gardener? This will get you on your way!
Hay Bale Gardening is what I believe to be one of the easiest of cheapest ways to start a vegetable and herb garden.
The cost to get started is very low.
Cost breakdown, average cost out of a bag or container.
Bale $5 to $8
container mix $2.00
liquid fertilizer $.0.20
Growing space 3ft * 1.5ft (1m – 0.5ft) plus vertical space.
Cheap start up,
Turns into recyclable compost in a season,
Larger growing space than a garden bed, due to vertical area,
builds up fungi and good bacteria,
increased microbial activity.
Messy in the car,,make sure you cover well,
Mice like to nest in it if it’s undercover. Keep the bales exposed and moist in the initial stages to avoid issues.
Grass likes to grow around it and up the sides. Place cardboard underneath to avoid this issue, or create a barrier.
Hard to move once it’s wet, as it becomes extremely heavy. Position well and if you need to move, do it before you start adding compost layers.
Getting Started & What is Needed?
Depending on the size of the family and how much fresh food you consume.
One bale per family member will provide quite a lot of food over time. However, in a small space situation you would start one bale a fortnight, so you get maximum return for your effort and space.
Fertilizer of your choice
Seeds & seedlings – seedling are option only, as it’s very easy to germinate on top of the Bales
Step 1. Condition the bale for as long as possible before planting to help start some of the breakdown process. Preferably 2 weeks to a month.
Succession planting – Plant your first bale in two weeks. Second bale 2 weeks later, Third Bale 2 weeks later again. Remembering that they have all been purchased at the same time and exposed to the elements.
Step 2: Sprinkle in the fertilizer of your choice and push down deep into the bale. This speeds up the breakdown and curing process.
Step 3: Place on 1.5 to 2 inches of quality compost. ( 30mm deep)
Step 4: Place on a layer of Potting mix 1.5 to 2 inches ( 30mm deep)
Step 5: Water the compost and potting mix for 2 days and keep moist.
Step 6: Sprinkle in Legume seeds such as Peas. These will then fix nitrogen into the Bales with their nodes. Once the Peas have finished fruiting do not pull the roots from the bale, but leave them in to rot. This way the more mature plants with larger root systems will be able to feed of the nodes as they break down.
Step 7: Sprinkle seeds on that have shallow roots such as Lettuce and slow growing herbs.
Step 8: Add some stakes for the Peas to climb and place them strategically for other plants such as Tomatoes. I like to place one at each end of the Bale. For larger Stake you can also run twine to each Bale and allow creepers to climb,,or tie up the Tomatoes.
Step 9: One month after planting the weather should be starting to warm up. Lettuce seeds will be starting to bolt, and the Peas will be finished also. Plant larger rooting plants of your choice.
Step 10: As you see the compost disappearing into Bale add more layers and fertilizer
Varieties that perform well in Bales.
Microgreens – Germinate and grow when your sprouting your Lettuce
Strawberries – Grow on tops and on the vertical walls.
Cucumber family grow extremely well in Bale gardens. Here is a list of family names
Larger growing plants such as corn are not really suitable unless you grow small dwarf species.
My all time favourite plant to grow is the Yellow Button Squash. The Squash family vines across the bales. The large leaves protect the top of the compost with shade allowing an understory of small herbs to grow in the hotter weather.
TIP: You can also use a mulch on top of the Bales to protect the potting mix and compost from drying out. I have found using Rice husks or composted wood chips perfect for this once the plants are established.
If you can access Rice husks it can be burned and turned into a fertilizer as well.
Bale Growing Tomato Tips
Grow indeterminate varieties first. These are the more shorter stockier plants that set fruit in a quicker space of time and are usually grown in containers. The root systems are not as large and are perfect for when the bale is at a younger stage.
Determinate Tomatoes: These grow long, tall and more like a vine. They can produce right through the whole grow season.
They do require staking and have a much larger root system. Plant mature seedlings once you see small fruits from the indeterminate varieties starting to appear.
The Bales will be well and truly on their way in the curing process and the roots from these varieties will be able to dig down deep into Bale. This will allow the larger Tomato plants to perform and fruit right through the year.
FACT: The name Strawberry is the English name, because Strawberries grow extremely well in bales. The rough texture stops them from being attacked by slugs and snails. These slimy creatures do not like rough texture, so they avoid the Straw, therefore keeping the fruits protected.
This is how the name Strawberry came to be
MORE CONTENT ON THE WAY IN PART 2
As my bales progress through the spring season I will be documenting all the growth here inside the MartysGarden Patreon members area. Over this coming season you will be on your way to becoming a master gardener.
Stay tuned as there is more educational content on the way!
Each video released will have even more content to go with it inside this blog post. So, you can get your container garden cranking!
You have watched the video above. Now, let’s take this one step further and get your container garden really pumping.
Firstly if you’re new to container gardening, you may want to return to this post often.
Each post will be created around the videos to help you get even more knowledge and productivity at home in your small space.
The Getting Started List Updated for Patrons! Container Mixes
1: I highly recommend that you avoid the cheap container mixes, because they are mostly just wood chips and sawdust.
These cheap mixes drain really badly and lack the nutrients for plants to stay healthy and productive.
Basically, you will probably give up and wondering what your doing wrong. When the truth is, it’s not really your fault.
Micronutrients, Minerals & Rock Dust.
Minerals added to the premium mixes helps build up the vitality of the plant, by strengthening the cell wall.
Healthy cell walls of the plant allow for optimum sap flow and also provides more resistance to fight off disease and pests.
Premium mixes also have a balanced ph and this allows the plants to take up the nutrients efficiently. If the ph is out of balance then the nutrients become locked up in the soil and become less available for the plant.
Best Containers For Gardens
When gardening there are a few major factors to consider and one of them is airflow.
That is why garden pouches work so well, they allow maximum airflow to the root system.
If you can find grow bags with handles and are well made, I highly recommend them.
Avoid the cheap reproductions, as they are generally flimsy and tear easily. You want a garden grow bag to stand nice and tall and not fall over easily.
Recycled Garden Containers – I love to do this as it’s such a cheap way to grow food. However, because these containers haven’t been designed to grow plants they need to be modified to get the best results.
Make sure there is enough drainage holes in the bottom for water to flow out of.
Add a few holes to the side to allow oxygen to flow to the rootzone, just and handful of pin holes is enough. This way the roots will get airflow and the soil won’t fall through.
The recycled container will also need a nice flat bottom so it does not fall over easily.
Consider covering your container with packaging tape if it’s clear plastic. This will stop the container from algae growth and keep light away from the plant rootzone.
I like to use a fertilizer that contains all the elements explained up above in the video. When purchasing a complete fertilizer you save money, as you don’t have to go out and buy a mixture of everything. Doing that will rip into your bank account big time.
If you use a premium potting mix you won’t need to add any fertilizer at all until the plants have been in the container for about 3 months. After about 3 months a lot of the fertilizer in the container has been used up.
Just follow the instructions on the packet to get the best results when topping up.
The tray above is my all time favourite for growing microgreens and the reason being? These trays and designed to raise seedlings.
Guess what? Microgreens are seedlings, so it makes sense right?
A Lot of times I have picked up these trays for free at nurseries, or paid around two dollars for one.
One tray can last for years. You can grow your microgreens in the premium potting mix as well.
TIP FOR MICROGREENS MIX: Buy a small block of Coco Peat and mix it 50-50 with your potting mix to save money.
All seedlings have their very own food storage contained in the seed, so it only needs to search for food once the root appears. So, it’s a waste of money to use all your premium mix for growing microgreens.
Once you harvest your microgreens you can recycle the mix and use it again. I like to throw mine into my worm farm, and use it again,,over and over. The worms turn it all into lovely castings!
I will have more content about microgreens coming up in time,,as I love them. Why? Because you can produce some of the tastiest, nutrient dense food on the planet and it has so many uses.
That’s it for my very first blog post in here for my Patrons. Thanks you so much for supporting me and my daughter here in Patreon.
Each video created will have this extended tutorial added just for you,,the Patron community for MartysGarden!