Wednesday, April 8, 2009




LAYER 1. Fresh Greens (Nitrogen): (above) Mow your lawn (and clip your hedge as a further option) , the pile shown is  6 ‘catchers’ of grass clippings. It is important that the clippings are used on the day of mowing. Fresh is best as lawn clippings rapidly decompose and lose the natural Nitrogen we require as a vital ingredient in our Compost Cake. Spread the clippings out on a tarpolin or other mat. The pile in the picture is about 2 metres long by 1 metre wide by 300mm high. At this point fill your watering can with 1 litre of Kinatonic Black and add 5 litres of water.  

Sprinkle about a quarter of the dilute Kinatonic black on the grass clippings. , then add a small handful of garden lime sprinkled over the pile. (as below). 

Layer 2: Browns (Carbon):  The picture below showns the contents of about 4 x 20 litre containers of dried old leaves we have collected from under our hedges and trees. We did take a little time to extract the enividible larger twigs that come with this exercise , although this is no critical. We have spread the leaves evenly over the grass clippings to form Layer 2.  Now add to this another quarter of your watering can of dilute Kinatonic Black , and another small handful of garden lime.

Layer 3. More Carbon: We chose to add some straw as we had some spare to hand. However this is not crucial. Shredded newspaper is all that is needed. We used a 20 litre bucket of straw and about half a 20 litre container of shredded newspaper (about 2 newspapers , ripped up into pieces no larger than a chequebook). If you have no straw , just shred an extra newspaper. Now to this layer add a further quarter of the dilute Kinatonic Black , and a handful of lime. You may also want to use the garden hose to sprinkle and wet the newpaper if windy. Be careful not to overwet though , just enough to stop the paper blowing away. Please note that ‘combined’ Carbon ingredient (Dry Leaves , Paper , Straw)  should be about 20% more in volume compared to your Greens (Clipping, Trimmings , Weeds , Kitchen Scraps).

Layer 4.  Carbon and Nitrogen: We added (below) some garden weeds as the y were fresh and handy. We also added some seaweed , about 10 dried heads of Ecklonia Radiata we had collected previously. Both these items are optional. Seaweed may be used wet/fresh , but should be chopped into smallish pieces with a machete or similar. At this point your may use the contents of your kitchen scraps bucket also  if you chose. Seaweed is a vital ingredient in composting , and should be sort if possible …. Each time you go to the beach collect a rubbish bag full and hang it to dry  on your fence or simply leave it in an open container near your compost bin for addition to your regular compost heap or for your next Compost Cake day.

Layer 5. The Icing: A small bucket (10 litres max) of compost from your pile , or a previous cake , or if neither of these are available , use a good black soil from the garden. This is highly important as Kinatonic Black will provide most of the soil microbes that really makes compost rock , but adding your own compost or black soil will aid in the activation process. Now to layer 5 , add the final quarter of the dilute Kinatonic Black and a handful of lime.

Mixing Stage: Now thoroughly mix the ‘cake’ (below). Using a garden fork , start from the inside and work out. The finished article should look something like this. If you feel the ‘cake’ is a tad dry (you want the finished article to be damp , but not wet , bit like the dampness of a wrung out sponge) , then add a sprinkling of water from the hose to get your consistency right. This is highly important as if too wet then the cake will go slimey , if too dry it will not compost properly. Having the newspaper in the mix provides an excellent guide as to the correct moisture content. When we see all the newspaper damp after mixing , we know the  moisture content near perfect.

The Cooking Stage: (below) Now either use the tarpolin you mixed your cake on to cover it (as we have) , and secure with rocks , or fork the mix into a 200 litre compost bin or similar. Put your hand into the cake the next day to ensure she’s cookin , careful tho , temperatures may reach up to 70 degrees in the pile , which is important for killing off weed seeds and any plant diseases that are in the mix.

Now then , every 2 weeks (or every week if you want to speed the process) , lift the tarpolin and mix the ingredients again with your garden fork , perhaps adding a sprinkle of water if the pile looks to dry.

Repeat process fortnightly  , and after 8 weeks you will have your very own REAL COMOST ,  which will be suitable (with a light sieving) for potting mix , or general use on your garden!!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

1/2 Wine Barrel Planters for Sale

$50 each
Free Delivery in Waimaz Area

Ph: 874 6597 or Text Olly on 0273 343 6701

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ingredient Series 3: Comfrey


We have our own Comfrey nursery (raised garden in pic 1 and paper-pot root cutting propogation pic 2) and are planning wide scale planting of this awesome plant to add to our composts and of course supply the Kinatonic range.

Comfrey is a particularly valuable source of fertility to the organic gardener. It is very deep rooted and acts as a dynamic accumulator, mining a host of nutrients from the soil. These are then made available through its fast growing leaves (up to 4-5 pounds per plant per cut) which, lacking fibre, quickly break down to a thick black liquid. There is also no risk of nitrogen robbery when comfrey is dug into the soil as the C:N ratio of the leaves is lower than that of well-rotted compost. Comfrey is an excellent source of potassium, an essential plant nutrient needed for flower, seeds and fruit production. Its leaves contain 2-3 times more potassium than farmyard manure, mined from deep in the subsoil, tapping into reserves that would not normally be available to plants.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ingredient Series 2: Vegetative Consuming Animal Manures

Four of Kinatonic's 10 ingredients are animal manures, sourced locally from Waimarama farms.
They are free range :
  • sheep, 
  • Cattle, 
  • Chickens and, 
  • Horses 
all contribute to our product.

Manure Materials

A wide variety of potential organic materials that can be used as mulching material, directly incorporated into soil (in some cases), or composted. Following are the attributes and composting qualities of a range of manures and other organic materials.

Type: Livestock Manure (note see below for stable manure)
Sources: Farms, stables (horses, cattle, sheep, poultry etc)
Attributes: High N, low C:N ratio, concentrated mineral nutrients (note: attributes change with age – old manure has usually lost much nitrogen and other leached/volatilised elements such as potassium and sulphur, and the material will have dried out becoming more concentrated on a fresh weight basis in some other nutrients).
Composting Notes: Use to balance high C:N materials. Manure is found to be particularly good at proting high composting temperatures. General Notes: Some manures can often come with sawdust or straw – see stable manure. Grazed livestock will have weed seeds in their manure, supplementary fed animals may have viable grains (e.g. oats) and especially intensively managed livestock may have high levels of animal health product residues such as anthelmentics, antibiotics etc as well as high levels of copper and zinc (potential heavy metal issues). Organic certification often requires that animal manure from off the property must be hot composted before application to certified land even iof the manure came from an organic property).

Specific Animal Sources:
  • Cattle Manure: often very moist (especially from dairy sheds) with potential odour issues so add to compost quickly. High in N.
  • Horse Manure: Low odour potential. Moderately high N content. Excellent for composting.
  • Poultry Manure: Very high in N and high pH therefore high odour potential from ammonia.
  • Sheep Manure: High in N but not bad for odour potential. Usually collected from shearing sheds therefore some percentage of wool and reasonably dry.
Type: Stable Manure
Sources: Stables (e.g. horse, calves, pigs, poultry)
Attributes: combination of high C:N and low C:N materials, varying according to concentration of the sawdust or straw material
Composting Notes: Moderate N, low to moderately high C: N ratio, less concentrated mineral elements than manure. Stable straw will tend to compost quicker than stable sawdust with less nitrogen drawdown issues in the long term than can occur when using stable sawdust.
General Notes: Usually excellent composting material that can form the main basis of a compost heap.

The KINATONIC brewing garden

There was an easterly storm in Waimarama over the weekend, so great time  on Monday for selective harvest of beached Ecklonia Radiata seaweed. See it drying on the fence? The photo shows is the primary start-up working area for preparation of KINATONIC.

And it looks like some further storms coming. From the MetService:

STRONG WIND WARNING EASTERN AREAS OF THE NORTH ISLAND FROM HASTINGS SOUTHWARDS : From 8pm Tuesday (10 March 2009) until 3am Wednesday for the area south of Woodville and until 6am for the area between Hastings and Woodville, expect westerly winds 65 km/h at times in exposed  places with gusts 120 km/h.  

Monday, March 9, 2009

Booming preparedness industry says people are stockpiling

The following interesting signal comes from the World Net Daily website:

Anxiety over the economy has generated a spike in other areas of the survival and emergency preparedness industry, too. Harry Weyandt is president of Nitro-Pak, a company that sells freeze-dried food, survival kits, fuel, camping gear and a variety of emergency preparedness products. “Since the middle of last September, the demand for our long-storing foods and supplies has been very high,” Weyandt writes in a column on his company's website.”"We are shipping orders as fast as possible, but the demand for preparedness supplies and long storing foods is gaining steam again.” Last summer, an ABC News report said “there are worrying signs appearing in the United States where some … locals are beginning to hoard supplies.” The report said some suppliers were concerned the U.S. government may be competing with consumers for stocks of storable food.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the story of Tony, a 44-year-old stockbroker who lives in a Sydney suburb with his wife and three children. Tony has been stockpiling supplies including rice, multivitamins, peanut butter, honey, soap and toilet paper. Simon Beer, who operates a survivalist website in Australia, told the newspaper he has seen a surge in interest lately. “Climate change, peak oil, the economic situation," Beer told the Herald, "people are seeing we're headed for catastrophic changes.”

Source: “Can you survive economic crisis?” – World Net Daily – 8 March 2009

THOUGHTS: Just another great reason to get our sustainable gardens and composts systems going.


A bit of humour

A friend just sent this clip:)