POP’s in Gardens!
Season 3 – Autumn/Winter 2019/20
Yesterday we had 8 POP’s in the garden here – Pissed off Percy’s and Penelopes in the garden!
I don’t have a photo of all 8 because by the time that l got to my camera and came back and started to snap away through the glass, l could only see 2 – these two on the empty feeders whilst the 6 that had been on the grass had scarpered! The image below taken at speed shows one of the 6 escaping…..
… l don’t mind the Pigeons … Suze calls them flying prairie dogs On account of their rotund size and that they have wings! It doesn’t matter when l tell her they don’t share much with PD’s – she basically classes them as flying vermin that strip out the bird feeders. I call them POP’s…. Pissed Off Pigeons! They are stripping out the bird feeders on a regular basis and Suze believes the other birds are not getting a looksee. This is not true, all the birds in the garden get a dibbs in on bird feeders here – but the pigeons are a big bird and can dominate feeders.
I did order a so called small bird feeder [above] and sure the PoP’s can not feed from them, but Suze says neither can the small birds??? But we have seen a pair of tits on there in recent days so all is good, l just need to locate it further into the garden. But l have also just bought trio of open wired small bird feeders – as in the birds can get into the enclosed area to feed but the pigeons and bigger birds or if we had any squirrels can’t get into them.
2020 Initial Decisions …
I am in the process of changing things in the garden and hyper focusing on things that need improving for 2020. Suze and l have agreed that we ‘will’ stay here with this rental once Scrappy has passed on, but with my shoulder now on the mend – the garden will still be ‘large’ but more easily managed again with two people. I am relieved about not moving, l could understand why Suze did want and wish to go because of the memories of Scrappy and the large garden solo. But l am no longer restricted with injury and where ever we go there will always be memories of Scrappy, because she is in our hearts and not just set to a house.
But on a more practical level … it would not be an easy to do move – 1] where do we move to? We are pretty well sited here in Kent for pretty good weather [okay the weather is terrible now, but it will not always be like this.] Meaning we would have to find a new location … meaning … 2] Suze would have to find a new job …. which is not always that easy at her age [no, not being funny, but employers seemingly don’t like over 50’s anymore] and yes it would be great to find somewhere less than £1000 a month, but most places are like this now rental wise … but also more importantly 3] To move these days is not always a cheap option and by the time the dust has settled and pending location moved to and new set up costs you have spent £5000 which could be used as five months rent here with no additional and new stress.
But for this new season, things have to change and be made easier …. one of these moves for the garden is clearly identifying our ‘for the table eating requirements’ versus our growing abilities and how we achieve these new things?
I am in the process of looking at a few new or even secondhand purchases 1] We have identified that a polytunnel might be better served here than the crumbling greenhouse we ‘inherited’ with the rental. It’s just a case of figuring out what size and style we need. We would still use the Ghouse, but as back up.
The other main acquisition is to be a new composting system. My current system was a cheaper option using 7 large wooden transport pallets secured together with industrial cable ties and several pointy poles to act as sunken ground pins. The joint boxes are beasts that measure 4 feet x 4 feet each so a total of 8 feet length by four feet height and width. Probably doesn’t sound that high, however one of the problems associated with my shoulder is that the motion of handling shovel up and shovel down on the composting as a singular move did me no benefit. The 2017 image above shows the set up when l had three bins ready and that measure 12 feet in overall length.
But with a dicky shoulder now, l can no longer effectively turn this heap the way l need to and as often as l would like to get it where l need it to be [black gold wise] – so l am looking now at a triple compost set up to replace the pallets and l have noticed these …
They measure 91cm depth x 91cm width x 75 cm high or in my language 3 feet by 3 feet x 2 and a half feet tall. Each unit holds 500 litres of waste. There is no base so that the worms can naturally come up from the soil and the only major difference is that this would be a closed bin rather than a natural airway composter. You access the compost by sliding up panels or lowering panels – you get the jist. But they are lower to prevent back strain and …. shoulder injury!
These would be much easier to manage and sure they are not open like my current system, but being smaller and having three of them means l can always rotate and more quickly and this in turn means a much higher yield of compost ready quicker. I could turn these heaps once every 2-3 weeks instead of the planned in once a month turning with the current set up.
Now these two ideas are decisions that l need to make in the next two – three weeks especially the composter descision. I’ll let you know …. however l received an email recently from a friend who asked for some quick ‘starting compost advice’ and whilst l directed them to the posts l wrote earlier this year, l also emailed them this…
Compost for Beginners Check List
Current state of the 2019/2020 heap – Green, Brown, Bracken – egg cartons are great for heap and will break down very easily.
Location of ‘compost bin?
Ideally in a shaded location … and as far back from the main bulk of your garden – l have mine set up at the very back of the garden behind the sheds. Also, l have it placed in an area that is not ‘ideal growing ground – so if you have such a thing – pick some dead space. Also not too far away from your main area of requirement as in … remember you are producing compost for vegetable garden use so you want the heap far enough away from the garden, but close enough to get the compost itself.
Ideally flat earthen ground
Type of bin for compost?
Well this is personal choice for you and your garden and your requirements – you could simply have a heap with a tarpaulin draped over it, or a moulded plastic bin or like mine now and the one l am thinking of … a wooden set up.
Each style has its own benefits and flaws and it is sometimes a case of trial by error. Research compost bins thoroughly before commencing is my best advice. I have tried plastic, but l found them too cumbersome.
There are some really excellent flat packs out there so it does take some research or of course you might just decide to make your own.
What can you compost?
I work on three golden rules: Green/Brown and Bracken.
Green – Lawn clippings, green foliage and vegetable waste, clippings – think once living nitrogen rich factors and that is green – but so too are manures as in chicken and cow, sheep etc. This is not inclusive dog and cat.
Brown – Things that are dead and wasted products such as fallen leaves and dead wastes or decomposed wastes
Bracken – Shredded paper, kitchen wastes, cardboard
Some gardeners purely view the brown and bracken as one type of waste, it matters not if you see green and brown only, what does matter is that you layer before mixing and then you mix when you turn.
What is the Layering Mixture?
Well there are many types of layer styles out there, l personally follow, 1 load green, 1 load brown, 1 load green, 1 load brown and 1 load of bracken. However, you could simply follow – 1 load green and 2 loads brown [if you were calling your bracken brown].
Think of the heap to that of a lasagne with layers or a pizza with toppings.
Do l turn my heap or not and if so how often?
If you leave you compost and just add to it as and when or occasionally that is known as ‘slow composting’ and it will be ready in roughly 12 – 15 months …if however you want to take ‘more control’ of the finished product then the faster process is known as ‘hot composting’ and this means that you can turn your heap a couple of times a month with a pitch fork
Next time, l will do a do a quick guide on the benefits of composting.
Anyway l’ll take my leave of you now
Thanks for reading everyone, till the next time …