Friday, 25 May 2012

Doin's in the garden

As we are just about recovered from the colds we acquired on holiday we have started doing a bit of stuff around the garden.  Much of this involved removal of tatty growth from plants around the place that have finished flowering or fruiting.  

Where these are woody stems that take a long while to break down (dahlias and asparagus have been the main contributors in this regard) they go into the great big compost heap.
This basically sits there for years, getting turned occasionally as it fills up.   I estimate that the volume of material decreases by about 75% as it composts.  When turning the good friable stuff can be removed and used on the garden. 

The softer material that can be composted - most weeds, kitchen refuse etc - goes into a multi-stage head system.  It is supplemented by horse poop to get the carbon:nitrogen balance closer to the ideal and turned about every 2 months.
 The area on the RHS is the first receptacle and when that is full it gets turned, with the more rotted material going into the LH 'picket bin'.   When that gets full (or we start to run low on compost for the garden) the completely rotted stuff gets transferred into the two covered bins to the right.

Some stuff is too nasty to compost.  This includes Periwinkle, Hypericum, Crocosmia and strawberry runners.  That is added to to the woody prunings on my bonfire pile and burned once or twice a year.   Of course the ash is used to
  • chuck over fruit trees to drive off cherry slugs and
  • top up the mineral content of the garden when planting things such as garlic.
Indeed garlic was planted, by Frances, yesterday.  While she was doing that I was busy removing the netting from some of our fruit trees.  This is a nasty job in some cases, where the tree has grown through the netting. 
 While we were thus engaged the boss was busy sussing out the situation under the stable.  (This is immediately to the left of the final compost bins.) 

 The reason for the chook wire and bricks is to stop her from disappearing under the shed to get at the rabbits (and possibly require me to dismantle the shed to get her out).  She is experimenting with chewing on the wire to get through it, and from time to time manages to excavate around a brick, so a degree of vigilance is needed.  The use of 'terrier' as a metaphor for determination is certainly justified.

The number of rabbits under the shed is reducing as they are occasionally unwise enough to emerge into my humane trap, from whence they are euthanased. 

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