The benefits of plants and joys of composting

October 7th, 2022 Posted In: Gardening

Thoughts on the importance of plants, soil and composting!

By Jane Clark from Country Practice

Our connections with plants

We are inextricably interconnected with plants.  We live amongst them, with them, eat them and ingest them in medicines or remedies.  They colour our hair and clothes.  They colour fabric and make-up and are within beauty products.

Plants are the lungs of the earth, they breath in carbon dioxide, convert it and release oxygen. The earth beneath is also busy, home to billions of micro-organisms.  These are constantly clearing and cleaning, injecting goodness through their excretions, procreating, and perpetually striving to take plant waste into the soil and re-cycle it for the benefit of the soil and plant health.

Becoming more biodynamic

As you will know from my previous blog, I am attempting to be more biodynamic in my approach to my garden.  I would love it if I were able to go completely that way but making a start to my journey will let me know how I can do as I progress with plans.  I know already that I must be realistic and work towards a system that is sustainable for me.  The garden, after all, is to enjoy not to be stressful.

The challenges of cliff topsoil!

I live on the White Cliffs near to Dover.  Sitting in my garden, I can see the coast of France or watch the ferries bobbing to and fro between Dover and Calais.  As any gardener amongst you reading this will know immediately, my soil is pretty rubbish!  It isn’t very deep either as, within inches, the solid chalk of the cliff makes a barrier that roots cannot penetrate easily.

Across the cliffs we do have shrubs and ancient trees scattered and going into the valley and a little more inland, farms flourish.  But in my cliff-top garden, things are somewhat different.  Rather than fight with it, I am going to re-think how I approach things.

Composting tips

I am loathe to have a compost heap as it will attract snakes.  Adders are prevalent in our area, so not something I want to invite. The food waste containers our council insists we use cause no end of other problems, especially considering the hot and humid summer we have just enjoyed.  So, composting and food rubbish have been in the forefront of my mind.

I’m thrilled and very excited about a ‘find’.  A contained composter that produces useable compost and plant food within six to eight weeks.  Hoselock’s Easy Mix 2-in-1 Composter.  It can be trundled around the garden to be used where you are actually working, and the liquid feed it produces is held in a container that can be used with your hose.  Marvellous!

My little caddy is being binned, and from here on I’m composting in a way I know I can manage and sustain.

Autumn composting tips

There are still stome things hanging on in the garden but very soon I will be putting it to bed.  All the bean runs, beetroot leaves and the leaves that fall from the trees will go into my composter and back onto the earth.  I will need to import some topsoil, but I am delighted that my garden will be ‘feeding’ itself within a short space of time.  I am interested to see how that will improve growth and natural pest control as the seasons roll on.

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