Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Garden Alchemy

Here is the newly dug, composted herb border next to the bird bath/feeder. I finally took the green bin up and separated the compost into ready and not ready piles.
The front window border (soon to be Vegetable garden) has been dug up, and a good four inches added to the top of the soil. It is dark, sticky, and quite cloggy the compost. It should supress any enterprising weeds from getting a foothold. The only plant left growing is some love in the mist. It has self seeded back into the border from where it came.
The magic of compost is that you make it yourself. From garden waste, plonked into a bin, wetted, squashed, and stirred. Months later, gardening alchemy has transformed it from waste to new earth. At the bottom was the most gorgeous soil. It even had worms which are now back in the soil. My own natural earth engineers. Who cant be charmed by worms when you find them? They may be small but they are industrious, churning through the earth.Pushing old soil up, and new soil down.

To the left is the kitchen window border, also newly covered with compost. The forsythia is enormous to the left, the cottinus with its rich colours of red and burgundy is in the centre. On the right hand side is the euonymus green and gold. The newly planted pinks are by the cottinus. The pieris fire mountain is next to the pink.
My two japenese maples are sat in the pots. I need a sheltered place for them. I love the tree's but they are totally unsuited to a yorkshire garden on a hillside. They need peace, and tranquility in a zen garden..
Tomorrows garden jobs will be cut the grass before it gets too long. Plant two hundred spring bulbs. Drink lots of coffee whilst doing that. After shoveling compost and transporting it I need a bath. Ha,ha its a smelly job, but i loved it.


clairesgarden said...

brilliant compost! its so good for the garden too. its a really nice day here so I've been in the garden all morning. lots to do.

snappy said...

there is always lots to do.And im blessed with a weeks annual leave so i can get my sleeves rolled up, and tidy the garden.Like cleaning up after a loud messy birthday party (that was summer).Hope you enjoy your time outside Claire.

Karen said...

I have so much to do in the garden for autumn but the rain hardly ever lets up! I can't remember when it's been this wet before.

Do you follow a compost recipe and do you put in kitchen waste as well, or just garden waste? How long did it take your "ready" batch to get to that state?

Dealing with compost is a smelly job, and the last time I did it I also got lots of ant bites, since it seems I disturbed a nest they had made in the compost bin. I still have the scars on my arm, because the bites are very itchy and I couldn't stop scratching them. I didn't know tiny little ants could do so much damage.

snappy said...

The compost bin has taken garden waste, kitchen waste of veg and potato peelings, tea bags (this is England, nation of tea drinkers.more than anywhere in the world).The only thing I cant use are hedge clippings as the stems are too woody.They do not break down.The fir tree clippings need mixing with other waste as they are acidic.Oh yes, i discovered grass clippings on its own turns to black slime.Basically, it needs a good mixture for the bacteria to work their magic.I know its a pain keeping it wet, and trying to turn it.When its all working the heap is warm when you open the lid.Like a garden oven.The amount of work in your garden is amazing.It looks brilliant now, love the blue shed!!

lisa said...

Your borders look really nice! I enjoy composting, too-I have a tall, black plastic commercially made bin with a hatch at the bottom to get out finished product. The formula I try to use is layering with wet/dry/wet materials. The action slowed a bit this year (tree canopy grew and made too much shade), so I bought a cheap 8 lb. bag of dry dog food (with corn meal as main ingred.) and put it in the bin, stabbed with my mixing stick, and watered in well. Seemed to initiate some activity, and once I trim the tree branches overhead, it will really take off! (moreso next year in warm temps, of course.)

snappy said...

Thanks Lisa, will have to tell me if the compost works out with the dry dog food!It makes the gardens life cyclical.Things grow, die, get put into the big green bin, and four months later return as new soil for the borders.The clay soil will be broken eventually, and hopefully will retain moisture.The problem is it gets bone dry in the summer, but waterlogged in wet times.The fun of gardening!!