Category Archives: Composting

Compost and Mondays

It’s always nice when a plan comes together, and for that reason alone this Monday was a good day. I’m not really sure why I’m prejudiced against the day – we tend to work through the weekend anyway so it isn’t as if it’s actually the start of our week. It’s probably a hangover from my school days, when Sunday evening was such a poignant time. It seems like I spent all my Sunday evenings thinking back to our Sunday seaside trip and dreading a return to the village school where the spirit of Wackford Squeers lived on well into the 1960s.

In truth I actually liked some of the schools I went to and didn’t go to the coast too often so I’m really only thinking of an eighteen month period when I was eight-years old, but it seems to have ruined Mondays for me for life. Fortunately it’s just a mild dislike – if I had an irrational fear of Mondays I would have to learn to spell¬†lunaediesophobia just to describe how I felt.

Anyway, back to the real subject. Having access to a large amount of greenery and several cardboard boxes it seemed a good time to dig the bean trench we’d been threatening for two years. There are various sorts of bean trench, ranging from ones filled with good compost to those filled with cardboard and newspaper. The benefit of the first sort are obvious, the benefit of the second sort is that it keeps moisture under the beans. We’ve gone for the third type, also known as a composting trench, where you fill it with waste and let it rot down over winter. The idea is that it will not only rot down to produce compost, but will heat the soil (according to one blog I read). I’m not convinced about the soil heating bit – I think you will need a lot more in the trench to produce heat, but let’s see.

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That’s cardboard, cape gooseberry and various garden clippings in the trench. We ended up with a lot more by the time we’d finished and had to stamp it down. Now we just wait and see.

As for the rest of the compost – the three bay pallet bin is nearly full (as you can see from the picture above), the plastic and wooden bins and rotating drums are full and the pigs are producing plenty of raw materials. Despite this I just know that when we come to spreading time we will be disappointed when we see how little it actually covers. There are several rules of composting:

(1) It always contains plastic, no matter how careful you are

(2) It never looks as good as it does on Gardeners’ World

(3) It never goes far enough

 

Worm community hit by hurricane!

Looks like I might have been a bit hasty in my assessment of the hurricane damage. This morning I found the lid of the wormery had blown off. I only check them every few days as they don’t need a lot of looking after. They are in a sheltered place and it didn’t occur to me that anything could have happened, but it looks like a swirling gust had got under the lid.

Fortunately there was a good layer of damp paper on top of them to keep things dark and they don’t seem to have been inconvenienced too much. Things seemed a bit wet so I suspect they have been rained on but I have arranged some more paper to help them dry out. I’ll add some bread crumbs tonight to help them along.

It looks like they have been breeding well as there are hundreds of small worms on the surface. However, I will check this out just to be sure they aren’t something horrible.It would be just my luck to be boasting about the fecundity of my worms just as they were being eaten by parasites. I’ve kept various livestock over the years and worms, though they don’t need daily attention, are still proving hard to get the hang of. No matter what the books tell me about them being easy I just can’t bring myself to believe it.

On the farm the guinea fowl are refusing to cooperate and move back to the vegetable garden. They are well and truly back with the rest of the poultry and refusing to move from the food. Can’t say I blame them. Even with a coat of waterproof feathers the weather is pretty bad at the moment. (Please note that I could have done the foul/fowl weather joke there but I chose not to. I am better than that.)

There is still a bit of jostling going on with the group of guinea fowl that live with the chickens full time but they seem to be settling down. Even when the weather improves I have a feeling that the poultry field will be a regular stop on the farm circuit for the free range group – bugs are fine but you can’t beat a hopper full of grain.