Chop Chop Compost

Rosina's front garden

Rosina Buckman’s front garden is right out on the suburban street. A number of corrugated colour-bond Zincalume planter beds dot her front garden.

Rosina is keen on growing food in her raised beds. Lettuce and herbs spill out of her tanks as she exuberantly explains how she keeps the plants fed.
“It’s my Chop Chop Compost system.” she tells us picking up her meat cleaver. Rosina who is a retired pensioner wields her cleaver in the air, giggling with glee as she throws a heavy timber plank over her wheelbarrow and proceeds to demonstrate her secret method of making good compost.

Rosina shares a little known secret about compost worms and the soil.

Check out this You-Tube clip as she demonstrates her compost method.

It seems to work because her garden is bursting with fruit. Tangelos, lemons, passion-fruit and the biggest New Guinea bean we’ve ever seen dangles above the front entry to her house. The bean is past its optimal eating size because Rosina is keeping it for it’s seeds. And seed raising is what her garden is all about. Tiny self seeding plants pop up out of the straw mulch all over her garden. Rosina encourages self seeding plants to grow. Small wild tomato plants pop out of the soil in the most unlikely places.

Raised Bed Compost Planter Bed

Raised Bed Compost Planter Bed

“It’s the Permaculture Way.” laughs Rosina. “It shows me that its a very strong plant because its survived all the things that have happened in this garden.”

Rosina explains the secret to her success with growing vegetables in her raised garden planter beds. Although the tanks are about two feet tall Rosina likes to build up the base of the tanks by recycling all her old woody prunings.

“Its exciting.” she says, “All you have to do is think of it as a great big compost bin.”

“You just alternate between layers of green leafy matter like grass clippings and woody plants, until you almost reach the top of the raised garden bed. Then you apply your nice fine compost at the very top beneath a thick layer of straw mulch.”

Having demonstrated her Chop Chop Compost method, Rosina takes us to her worm farm. Multi layered black bins store her fine chop-chop prunings.

Rosina's Worm Farm

“There is something very important that I need to share with you because lots of people don’t know this.” she says. “The food that you actually give your worms is not actually eaten by the worms with their teeth – because they don’t actually have any teeth!”

“If you cut the food for the worms very small, you increase the surface area of everything that you give them and bacteria grows on all these surfaces.”
“The worms suck the bacteria off all the food that you give them. So its really important to know why you do the things you do and why that action is beneficial to the soil that you are feeding.”

“I have a huge crop of worms now because I know how to look after them.” she said.

“I keep telling people that, but I don’t know if they understand it.”

We do now.

Chop all your vegetable matter for your compost down into small pieces. It will break down faster and keep the compost worms happy.