Welcome Back To Season 2 – Doin The Dirt Eh – A
Compost Heap 10th April 2019
I was reading an article this morning about compost heaps and about how scientific studies have found that they are potentially deadly heaps of killer dust! That if not handled correctly gardeners can develop ‘farmers lung’ whilst attending lovingly their brown heaps of dead waste and they [heaps] may be home to the drug resistant superfungi that could award your labours of love with a nasty infection that reflective upon your age and overall health could kill you!
I am familiar with ‘farmer’s lung’, as l had a small dose of that when working with my animals because of the sheer volume of straws and hays that l had to deal with and occasionally you would have that horrible mould and or spores in some of the grasses and straws due to age, harvesting practices and storage and if they became damp and the product became mouldy.
I always insisted on fresh hay and straw bales from the farmers l used to buy it from, however you couldn’t avoid it at times, especially if the farmer’s warehouse or lean to had a hole in the roof and the bales became wet and then naturally dried.
I used to turn my compost heap over once a month, but that had to stop because of this shoulder injury and l haven’t actually attended to my compost heap since April 2018 – so a year ago now. I missed out on all the wonderful wildlife that can inhabit your heap for a full 12 months so far and l will not deny it, that l have missed it and am still missing it.
However what l have noticed in the few visits to my heap is that despite it NOT being turned over monthly, it has coped pretty damn well without the attention dedicated to its cultivation. Which has been both surprising and interesting at the same time.
The article continued along the lines of ensure that your heap is aerated and has to a certain degree quite a bit of moisture to it, which mine is and does. That if you are to attend to the compost heap, then ensure you wear protective clothing including a mask, which l was doing the last time l was working with. That once every 6 – 8 weeks your heap was to enjoy a thoroughly good soaking. Before admittedly l only used to allow water access when l was in the process of turning it, however during my years absence l have not been able to water it, but my tarpaulin somehow became torn, and so everytime it has rained, my entire heap was receiving a jolly good soaking as was.
As l continued to read the article it basically said to NOT pay too much attention to the green, brown and mixed ratio of forage and foliage that you add when attending to your heap. To not have too much grass cuttings within as this can lead to the nasty spores developing and more so if the cuttings become too dry or too wet, so you need to ensure they are balanced.
but the most interesting snippet of the article and to a certain degree quite pleasing, was that you need NOT turn your heap over monthly, that you could leave it for 6 – 9 months by itself and it would naturally break down …. and whereas before l would have pooh poohed that notion, due to the injury and my restrictions of lifting, l have found that to be an absolute truth. Without any attention and or fussing from me for the whole 12 months and my heap has performed marvelously!!
So in essence all we need to do, and sadly this is the deadlier part is sieve it down outside and not inside where the invisible spores are most damaging and our compost is actually ready!
The images above show the compost heap as it currently stands – it has lain dormant and unattended for 12 months. Ten days ago the grass was cut and some cuttings and general foliage were added. But this compost is ready to rock and roll!
Welcome Back To Season 2 – Doin The Dirt Eh – B
Suze and l , but mostly Suze hasn’t worked with the garden apart from a few random weed pulls since October of last year, and so the garden was left to its own devices. But like the compost it has fared pretty well. The ‘wildside’ to the garden has just become wilder and the cultured vegetable side has become barren.
Last weekend, Suze made ready a few seed trays for this year’s vegetables , and l ordered a few new packets which arrived today, ready for Suze this coming weekend.
I noted with some glee that our rhubarb bush is starting to make good headway again – did you know that if you were to soak and bleed the leaves, you can turn that into a natural pesticide? Same can be done with the leaves of nettles, but beware the latter after a few days soaking in a bin, the smell is somewhat unattractive to be polite!
I also noticed that our horseradish now on it’s third year is starting to shoot again – perhaps this year, we might be able to make some sauce, as we never got around to it last year.
The bug hotel is looking a little forlorn at present, but l do know that some bumblebees spent winter there as did a few other species, and Scrappy’s buddies both the hedgehog and the frogs and toads also are residents. This area by the chair is where we tend to plant herbs, and our cucamelon and tomatillo plants.
The pots and beds were made ready last weekend for planting out in the next few weeks and also look somewhat barren.
But the good news is that the other side of the garden is proving to be a place of both peaceful retreat and sanctuary for our pollinators as it is filled with fresh blossoms and flowers and shrubbery.
Plum and Pear Trees in full blossom
Apricot Tree and wild garden
Wild and overrun garden, truly wild!
They’re not weeds, they are just flowers in the wrong place!
Does it matter? The bees love it!
Some pretty flowers for the planting out.
So the second season of Doin The Dirt Eh has begun, so l’ll see y’all next time around.