6th November - From one extreme to another - It's been an odd week, weatherwise. Some days it is bright and sunny, warm enough to work outside in shirtsleeves, others it has poured, and I mean poured, with rain, some very foggy
mornings, and then clear nights with sub zero temperatures. I guess that's Autumn ... unpredictable, and as I said,one extreme to another.
Fine weather has given us the chance to really forge ahead with Winter preparations though. One of the big jobs
is unloading compost from the oldest bin. I realise that to the untrained eye, this does not look very exciting, but to a gardener... wow!! Half a cubic metre of gorgeous, dark brown, crumbly compost, just right to add to the soil on three or four beds to
boost organic matter and feed those all important soil microbes and worms, ready for crops next Spring. It has gone on the beds which will be for parsnips and for Spring-planted onion sets, as well as a top dressing for the squash bed (which will also have
manure trenched in around April too) The rain gave everything a good soak and now those beds are safely covered up for their Winter rest. I am a great believer in giving soil a regular rest from growing crops every now and then, and in our rotation at least
two out of every four years the beds have a four month break.
The second compost bin, which will be ready to unload in the Spring, will be mainly used in the polytunnel, and the third one has now been closed over to start its long rot-down. It should
be useable next Autumn. Bin one, now empty, will be slowly filled with kitchen waste and chopped greenstuff from the plots to provide Nitrogen for future crops, whilst quantities of shredded paper, torn up egg boxes etc will provide Carbon to give both elemental
balance and space for air in the mix too: saves everything going slimy. A good handful of red worms from the unloaded compost will help things get off to a good start too. These worms feed on decomposing vegetable matter and are a different species to those
that live in soil itself.
I could go on about compost for a long time: it is a really key harvest for us, but I shall move on to look at more traditional harvests for this week now, linking to Harvest Monday
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