Improving The Soil With Compost: Notes From Session held 23/10/2019

Improving The Soil With Compost: Notes from session held by Rachel Buchan on 23/10/2019

On Wednesday 23rd October a group of enthusiastic gardeners attended a presentation on improving soil with compost by Seed Savers Albury Wodonga Committee member Rachel Buchan.

Some of the points made by Rachel and members of the group were:

An assessment of your soil should be a first step. (Is it clay, sandy, hydrophobic, too acidic or alkaline etc?). Look for methods to improve it.

Compost helps with most problem soils.

Compost can be made using aerobic (oxygenated) or anaerobic (oxygen not used). Compost made in heaps is aerobic, compost made in closed plastic bins is often anaerobic and takes longer.

Compost  requires 4 units of carbon to every unit of nitrogen.

Carbon ( brown) -leaves/forest leaves/ twiggy garden material/ shredded newspaper/sawdust/straw/animal manures of horse or dried cow pats shredded

Nitrogen (green) – clippings, garden prunings of green materials, coffee grinds, lucerne as hay or chaff, chicken manure, kitchen scraps

Source horse manure carefully. Manure from commercial stables may contain traces of medications given to horses.

Horse and chook manure should be well composted before putting on plants as it may burn if used straight.

Chook manure should not be used on native plants as it contains high levels of phosphorus.

Ensure that sawdust is well composted. It is high in carbon and can leach nitrogen from soil if used fresh.

Egg shells have neither carbon or nitrogen but provide some calcium and help in breaking up the soil. Grind to put in compost.

Green manure crops (legumes, mustard, kale, some grasses) are excellent for providing nitrogen to soil. Dig in before they flower.

Can also use nettles and weeds to make a tea, dilute before pouring on plants.

Rachel demonstrated soil pH testing methods with a kit and a probe. Participants were very interested to see the PH of samples that they had brought from their gardens.

Many of the vegetables we grow prefer neutral or slightly acidic soils. Azaleas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries eggplants like more acidic soils while cabbages, cauliflowers, cucumbers prefer more alkaline conditions.

To make soil more alkaline, add lime

To make soil more acidic, add well rotted material and compost.

Rachel referred those who wanted to know more to the resources on the Seed Savers Albury Wodonga website and to the vast number of resources available on the internet.



Certified Demeter Bio-Dynamic In-Conversion. Fresh seasonal produce grown to the Australian Standards for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce. We are committed to building healthy soil so that we can produce healthy food for you.

Saturday 9th November
1.45pm for a 2pm start.
Parking on site, come in the first gate.

Farm tour with owners, Ada and Pat, then communal afternoon tea then optional working bee. Working bee will depend on the farm activities but could include transplanting, mulching, trellising etc. BYO gloves, rest of equipment supplied.

BYO afternoon tea supplies. The site is basic, Ada and Pat are living in a caravan with two
small children. So there will be no fancy tea and coffee facilities! Composting toilet.

There will also have some seedlings available from their nursery – mostly open pollinated except a few varieties that are hybrid seed due to yield, faster ripening and in one instance flavour.

Ada would like an idea of numbers so we ask that participants register via to obtain the address and directions.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Event : Improving your soil with compost!

With all the excess grass growth, this is a perfect time to make compost for your garden. Learn what it does for the soil and how to make it.
There will be an opportunity to test the pH of your soil so bring some small samples.
Wednesday 23rd October 6.30 to 8pm at the SAC on the Causeway.
Seedbank open for withdrawals/deposits. Ideal time to grab some seed!

Membership reminder – with discount

Membership reminder

Discount: just $15 for a household for a year; helps to support our activities

Big thanks to those who have renewed or taken out a new membership at recent events!

Our membership year runs from 1 July to 30 June, so it’s renewal time. We’re offering our usual incentive, where those joining or renewing by the end of August do so for just $15 per household. After August the price will return to $20 per household – so be sure to catch this “special”!

How: Complete the online membership form (to ensure we have your current details for insurance purposes) and indicate if you are either paying electronically or will bring cash to one of our gatherings. Easy!
Continue reading

Film Night: ‘Seed, The Untold Story’

Back by popular demand! Seed Savers Albury-Wodonga will again screen the film “Seed, the Untold Story”.
Our previous event featuring this film (two years ago) was very popular. Come along if you missed it or to watch again!

When: Thursday 22 August, 6:30pm start for film screening, at the Sustainable Activity Centre, on the Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga. Map.

We will also have our Annual General Meeting before the film and members can access the seed bank. Continue reading

Annual seed bank stocktake

By Karral Miller

Thank you to the ten Seed Savers members who braved the cold on the evening of Wednesday 5th June to help with the annual stocktake of the seed bank. This is an opportunity to clean out seeds that are past their use-by date, to check which seeds we have in abundance and which ones are in short supply as well as a general clean up and overview of the system. With many people working, the job was done efficiently and quickly. Continue reading

More on the Community Garden visit


Photo from Nick Taylor’s “Pedalling Forwards” blog.

Nick Taylor is a sustainability blogger on a pedal-powered tour around Australia. He recently passed through our area and joined in the Seed Savers Albury-Wodonga visit to the community garden.

Nick describes his adventure as ‘a bike journey in search of sustainability innovations and inspiration’ and he wrote a lovely piece about his visit to this garden with our group. Continue reading

A tour of Albury Wodonga Community Farm

By Steve Burton and Jackie van der Neut

Under brilliant Autumn sunshine (after the best rain the Border has had in months!), a group of keen gardeners and onlookers arrived at Lemke Rd, Gateway Island, Wodonga for a Seed Savers event – a tour of the Albury Wodonga Community Farm visit lead by Tilak, resplendent in his Parklands Albury Wodonga official uniform.


All smiles in the sunshine! Photo: Paul Smith

Continue reading

Visit to the Albury Wodonga Community Farm

Community Farm Visit, 3 May

Seed Savers Albury-Wodonga will visit this large organic market garden that produces vegetables and herbs not readily available locally. Tilak will lead the tour showing us how the multicultural gardeners save seeds and market their organic produce direct from the community garden.

When: Friday 3 May, 10am – 11:30am

Where: Bhutanese Community Farm, 150 metres off Lemke Rd, Gateway Island,  Wodonga. View on google maps.

Free event but RSVP required by 3pm, Thursday 2 May. Please email if you plan to attend. Continue reading