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February 12, 2014

A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about my newfound respect for weeds and their value in the compost bin. Today I have found a ‘recipe’ for making an activator from the most common garden weeds and it guarantees compost in as little as six weeks. It’s based on the method developed by an Irish woman Maye Bruce in 1935 and is derived from the biodynamic technique pioneered by the philosopher and educationalist Rudolf Steiner. I am very excited by the prospect of rich crumbly compost after only six weeks and even better it uses six common herbs and you don’t need to turn the heap.

I  can’t wait to get started and the Bruce system known as the ‘quick return’ is as follows:

Mix together the dried leaves of stinging nettles, ground-up dandelion root, the flowers, leaves and stems of yarrow, camomile flowers plus the ground up root of Valeriana officinalis in roughly equal quantities. Add one teaspoonful of the dry material to a pint of water and add 2 drops of honey then pour this mixture over your compost.

There’s a revised edition of her book available at

This week a pot of chives bought at the supermarket were tipped out and divided into ten or so plants and used to edge a large terracotta pot. These are now outside the kitchen door and chives are hardy so even if we get a sudden frost I trust they’ll survive.DSCN2236-001

And this gift of stunning cut flowers has given me such pleasure for the last six days and even though they are going over they’re still a thrilling statement. It’s possibly ‘Tulipa Apricot Parrot’ and I’ve made a note for the diary in Autumn to buy lots of parrot tulip bulbs. The colours are astonishing and the soft curled petals with their serrated edges add gorgeous texture as a cut flower.DSCN2335

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2014 4:25 pm

    That sounds intriguing. I’ll be very interested in hearing about the results. My compost is always slow to break down and where the heap is located means turning is difficult. Gorgeous tulips by the way.

    • February 12, 2014 5:19 pm

      Yes I plan to record and photograph a six week compost making session as soon as all the weeds are available-so starting in May probably.

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