Dear Shelll, a warm welcome to you! I reckon we're going to have LOTS of fun with your garden lol.
Your garden sounds sweet. That online Course sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing your learnings! I'm sure we'd all welcome more of these interesting facts.
I bet you'd love looking into Biodynamic Gardening after that one. It's FASCINATING.
I got a Scholarship to complete a Permaculture Design Certificate years ago. Wow. Love all things Permie lol.
One key thing to your gardening success (besides a never give up attitude) is OBSERVATION.
Look at how water runs on / off your property - we can talk about that later.
Feel how hot / cold / humid / dry each potential growing area is and WHEN. These are your microclimates. Success is exponentially increased if you observe and peg them in your head or start a notebook on each area.
The microclimates in my garden are so diverse, that I can grow tropical plants in some areas and extreme cold loving plants in others. This took me a LONG time to work out lol. Hopefully your discovery journey is shortened by chiming in here and posing questions to the rest of the green thumbed brains trust lol.
Your Birds of Paradise are telling you a lot where they are.... depending upon whether they look vibrant and happy or light green, not multiplying and sick looking. How are they looking? Please observe before ripping anything out lol.
I'm so impressed you've started a compost heap HIGH FIVE lol. And you've done that first, that's incredible.
Black ants? They're telling you something also.
Little black ants like eating sugar, white bread, cakes, that kind of stuff.
Composting (there are SO many ways)… If you're doing the layering of carbon (paper, leaves, wet cardboard) and nitrogen (green waste, foods and other stuff lol) then these layers could be about 5-10cm deep. Wet each layer of carbon as you lay it. This may help. You may have "too much" sweet stuff in there but this may be easily balanced out by carbon.
I heard one gardener say to another one at a Permie meeting... "You don't have an over population of snails, you have an UNDER population of birds!"
It's kind of an ADDING formula instead DETRACTING … including from your energy expenditure, the hard work of taking things out then losing the lot.
Chooks are the best but having a bird feeder right near where you want insects eaten can work well. Have a think of what you want to plant there later. It might be EATEN by those same birds lol. Herbs soon.