Gerrie has been composting for over 30 years and it would be difficult to imagine a more down-to-earth approach than hers. Living alone in Glenfield she doesn’t accept that composting becomes too hard as you get older. Instead she says “you have to adapt”.

Gerrie uses a system of three round plastic compost bins, plus a Bokashi bin. “You have to make it very easy for yourself” is her advice, and experience has taught her exactly how to do this. She keeps a small plastic container on her kitchen bench top which she takes out daily to a larger plastic container in her garden. Into this she adds newspaper and other dry waste as well as lawn clippings. She did a deal with the lawnmowing man when her mower broke down, and he now cuts her lawn for a bargain fee and she relieves him of his lawn clippings in return.

Once a week, this larger container gets emptied into the compost bin. Gerrie says “I don’t want to dig. I’ve got back problems and I just don’t want to be doing heavy work, so I have found ways to make it really easy.”

She says that if you have patience, nature does the work for you, and in six months she has great compost for use on her veggie patch. To test if it’s ready she shakes the bin and if it’s loose enough to be able to lift it straight off, then she knows it is! Once again this technique saves her from any heavy digging work. She then leaves the pile in situ and takes one bucket away at a time for use on her garden as she needs it.

Gerrie’s Bokashi solids also get emptied directly into the compost bin where she says they break down very quickly, eliminating the need for digging. She uses the Bokashi liquid (diluted) as a fertiliser.

Describing herself as a “natural gardener” Gerrie likes to keep things simple and work with nature. She disposes of kikuyu grass by putting it in a plastic bag with a handful of soil and some water, rolling it up and leaving it to rot down to almost nothing. Tree prunings are left on the ground beneath the tree they came from, and some of her plants are allowed to go to seed and spring up again the next season, creating a natural cycle that just keeps on producing.

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