Holiday effects on Bob’s Compots were not drastically altered as he was only been gone for around 10 days. In that time he had a neighbour water his plants every 2 to 3 days (but not his Compots specifically). It didn’t rain over that period and the weather was super hot (up to 42 degrees on some days) so he expected the Compots to be dry after that period of time.
When he returned he became ill so did not go into the garden or check his pots for another 5 days. In total roughly 15 days of no rain, watering or topping up his Compots with moist scraps. When he was well enough to go outside he found the Compots only partly dried out and not as dry as he had expected. The contents looked damp but not wet. So he just added more scraps and water, and watered his garden and pots as he normally would.
You can see from the above video that the pots returned to normal with the Soldier Flies working behind the scenes reducing the waste as they normally do. This shows they will continue to work with no rain or watering for a short period of time in extremely hot dry weather. The Bacteria, worms and Soldier Flies will continue to function until conditions alter drastically. Any worms will simply find another place in the garden to live and the Soldier Flies will either hibernate or pupate, fly away, mate, lay their larvae again and die. And so the process continues.
Shirley’s garden in comparison
Shirley’s garden in comparison is very dry from no water and no ground cover to retain any moisture in the soil. This will happen if you go away for extended periods of time but all you have to do is add water to your pot and the soil will turn back into beautiful friable soil. If you find any little runner roots have entered your pot looking for nutrients you can twist the pot around in the ground forcing the roots to grow around the pot rather than in the pot. Or you can break them off easily with a trowel. This generally only happens when you are not filling up your Compot with waste all the time and there are no nutrients leaching into the soil. The plant roots come looking for nutrients.
Recap Holiday management rules
- Fill you pots up before you leave, with your soaked waste and lots of waste water
- Make sure you have a nice ground cover over the lid and your garden to reduce evaporation
- Set your sprinkler to water your garden or a neighbour to water your plants every few days
- You could add things that retain water like coffee grounds or tea bags but soaking your scraps is usually sufficient
- You could add grass clippings on top of your waste inside your pots to help reduce evaporation.
- Keeping the contents moist aids decomposition
- Adding grey water and a low phosphate detergent will help water soak into the soil especially if it is dry
- Water your garden and your pots as soon as you get home to reconstitute any dried up soil or waste.
- Empty any pots that are full of soil with no undecomposed waste, and spread this soil around the garden. Now you have an empty pot that you can start filling up again. Water the soil into your garden.
- Adding Comfrey or beneficial bacteria can also help the decomposition process if you can be bothered
Today’s Did You Know…?
Tea leaves are a particular species of Camellia know as ”Camellia sinensis”. It is actually only the tip of the leaf and the leaf bud that are used to make the tea. Because the leaf is soft it is easily picked by hand as happens is places such as India, where people are many and labour is cheap.
However in Australia (North Queensland on the Atherton Tablelands) it is picked by machine because of the high cost of labour.
In 1848 a Scottish gardener by the name of Robert Fortune, was hired by the British East India Company to steal the tea from China, which they then introduced to India to break the Chinese monopoly on Tea production.
“After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world”.
Alan Macfarlane; Iris Macfarlane (2004). The Empire of Tea. The Overlook Press. p. 32. ISBN 1-58567-493-1