Time To Start Talking Dirty!

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Time To Start Talking Dirty!

Season 3 – Autumn/Winter 2019/20

Doin The Dirt Directory


This is the view from the compost heap looking towards the back of the garden – lovely eh?

What do l see ….. ?

Hydrangeas!! I see hydrangeas like some people see dead people!

We have quite a few of these busy bushy plants in the garden that need both deheading and trimming back for the end of season period.  These heads make for ideal compost fodder for the first initial layers of the new heap! Where the compost heaps are sited we have a massive bush, but they still,  despite dying off, look pretty and pretty impressive l think!

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I just think that this flower always looks so lovely even when it’s at the end of its season like it is now. Another month and this one will not have all the lovely colour – however the deadheading has started in other parts of the garden and as you can see from the image below our other plants are simply looking a lot more bedraggled!


I tend to use all of this plant for the compost heap – although l will not put the branches into the heap whole as they take longer to decompose and l settle for shredding these down – if you didn’t have a shredder you could simply cut them into smaller twig pieces or even batter the branches/twigs with a hammer to splay them out and allow decomposition to act faster. The last thing you could do with them if you wanted to would be to add them into bags of leaf mold compost [once clipped into smaller pieces] and they would simply degrade with the leaves. But l will compost the flower heads and all the leaves which would make for a green layer.

With every compost heap l build, l have three main layers – green layers [leaves and foliage], bracken layers [food wastes, shavings, paper, cardboard and eggshell – more of this in later episodes] and brown layers [dead leaves, old plant matter and unearthed vegetable plants] – l tend to build,  green, brown, green, brown and bracken or 2 green and 2 brown to every one bracken.

From my last compost post ten days ago Compost Season Again! where l explained l was just breaking down the old heap, well l finished that on Saturday. I opted for the 2019/2020 heap to have a much finer heap of compost available as in very finely sifted, which meant removing all the stones and largish twigs. Stones are great for assisting in further aeration of your compost heaps. Aeration in its most basic form means a process in which air is circulated through. Stones inside a compost heap helps to ensure air is continually moving through the mass. There are other eco options you can adopt – such as  torn up egg cartons which make for a more natural and conservation orientated addition, considering that as they will also degrade this makes the heap cleaner.

For the new heap l will be using egg cartons, crumpled paper and torn cardboard to replace the stones. l successfully removed all loose stones and debris from the remaining heap pile and sieved and sifted out a much smoother compost mixture.


I take it from this mixture direct from the old 2017/2018 heap …

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To the siever here where the larger stones and clumps and twigs are prevented from entering the finer soils…


To a much softer and smoother mixture seen here at the bottom of the bin….

To here where the finished heap not only managed to fill that entire bin,  but also …

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… to cover the final layer on the old heap itself, which in turn will form the first official mixed brown layer to the new heap layers….. which will make sense in the next compost episode. This particular image displays the very top of the old heap with a mixture of brown, bracken and green layers.

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Whilst this image displays the dregs of the old heap [minus stones and pebbles and twigs] making for the final brown layer and prior to covering with 5″ of freshly and finely sieved  compost soils.

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Just starting to completely cover the last heap with the final softer soils after the water layer has been added.  I poured roughly 5 gallons of rainwater into the old heap to basically dampen it down a bit before it is covered with the ground sheets and tarpaulins.

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I have an open compost heap made from old pallets as this allows the heap to breathe but l choose to cover it so that l can when the time is right build the heap to internally develop a heat that aids decomposition.

On Saturday after pushing through l managed to empty the old 2017/18 heap and lay it level again ready for the transfer of the old heap itself into the empty cubicle. I figure on starting the first move of debris across after the 8th October, by which time both the contracted gardener and Suze and l will have made some headways into finalising the gardening season and looking to dump wastes and debris from the garden.

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Empty, raked and ready …… for the first green layers …

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…. which weren’t far behind after Suze started the deadheading and pruning out of some of the wilder herbs.

You may remember from the last episode that l was joined on the ground by Mr Sparrow quite the gregarious fellow. This time l was joined by his other half who is not so social, she is not asocial but she prefers to be in the tree rather than being at ground zero with me. She is however extremely vocal and all the way during my digging of the old compost heap – so a good 90 minutes of work, she sang me a beautiful song. It’s not the greatest photo, but you can just see her.

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The good news is that l can now start to build the new 2020 heap and l am quite excited!

Anyway l’ll take my leave of you now

Thanks for reading everyone, till the next time …

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26 thoughts on “Time To Start Talking Dirty!

  1. You select the titles of your post which are sure to grab our attention. Or make someone like me fearful of reading further!!!😜

  2. Where’s Percy? Has he abandoned you?
    I have been very excited the past few days with the return of the wild parrot flock. A few even hung out in the tree in my backyard for a while. I took pictures but its difficult to see green parrots in green leaves against a grey sky.
    I love when the critters visit!

    1. No, Percy and his missus and all their flock visit on a regular basis l say. They have taken responsibility for the minimum of three feeders no less, l have just bought a whole batch of food for the birds for this autumn and that includes a new feeder for the other birds in the garden 🙂

  3. Your hydrangeas are beautiful!! I think they’re pretty even when they fade near the end and that shade of dark pink/lavender is wonderful. Great job on the compost heap. 😊

        1. Interesting, Suze [mine] wonders if it might be a hybrid, because we were looking for the exact match colour here, and cannot specifically find it.

  4. Nice post Rory, the hydrangeas look lovely 😀.
    On the farm we just dumped the different stuff 💩 in pials and left it to root down for a year the plant mater in the garden just got pulled up and left to root in the field for the winter then teld in in the spring like all the fields.


    1. Hey Dawn – manure is an excellent source of nutrients for growth, some is better than others – years ago l usaed to use rabbit poops diluted down, superb for organic growth 🙂

      1. Chicken manure is really good too but it’s so acidic it has to root down for a year or more before you can use it.

        BY FOR NOW

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