…to the weather and our moods!

Yesterday, I must confess we were all a little grumpy.

With the weather being so depressing, nearly everbody decided that it was far too cold, dark and miserable to come out to The Plots, so they stayed away in droves.

Still, a ‘hardcore’ team of Diane, New David, Sara and myself made the best of it.  While I carried on clearing the weeds and roots from ‘my patch’ down by the greenhouse, the others went up to the top compost bins to investigate.

The two left ones had been left full and covered for over a year to break down, and Diane had said that as we’ll be planting pretty soon, the beds could do with a little ‘turbo mix’.

Compost bin before uncovering.

Compost bin before uncovering.

Here you can see one of them still with it’s plastic covering.  This is put on for several reasons.  Firstly, it prevents weed growth from stray airborne seeds that may be passing and secondly, it keeps the heat in.

The idea of composting is that natural plant matter will be broken down by microbes, and in doing so, they generate heat which makes them work even faster.  As long as the compost pile is wet enough for the bacteria in the first place, you can just leave them be and let Nature ‘do her stuff’.

Amazing really (…well, it is to this former deskjockey!..), and best of all it doesn’t cost you a penny! The only slight downside is that it does take a year or more to happen.

Fresh compost ready for spreading.

Fresh compost ready for spreading.

Here you can see one of the piles with its ‘top off’.  If you click on this photo a couple of times, you will see the weeds round the edges (…really easy to get out…), but more importantly, you can see just how it has all broken down.  A year ago, this pile was almost over the brim with dead stalks, old roots and leaves, and over that time it has settled down and the bacteria and worms have done their stuff.

All David had to do was roughly riddle it, and it was ready to go for today.

So, today with the weather being so much better, our moods had improved.  I helped Harold finally finish off the fencing by replacing the broken slats and making sure they were all at approximately the same height while Diane and New David got the compost ready and spread it on one of the beds in the therapy plot.   For today, we would be…

…Planting!

After spreading a barrow’s worth of compost on a half bed, I retrieved a bucket of dry fire ash from under the fire cover, riddled it to get any metalwork out, and gently sprinkled it over where we were going to plant.  So today, we planted garlic -56 cloves all told, and this year, we’ve decided that rather than buy new garlic to plant, we’d use cloves that we’d grown last year and had started to sprout where they were stored in the greenhouse.

Lines of freshly-planted garlic cloves.

Lines of freshly-planted garlic cloves.

Here you can see the half bed after we’d finished, still with the canes to mark out the seven lines of eight, planted in a diagonal pattern to give maximum room for growth.

Before David and I started planting, Diane gave us a quick ‘refresher’ in the art of planting garlic, and the main things were to get it the right way up and to plant it deep enough -the height of three bulbs stacked end to end down in the soil.

The white tray you can see towards the top of the picture are some shallots kindly donated by Mick further down the site.  In the end, we thought we’d not be selfish and plant everything all in one go so we’ll leave these for people to pop in on Saturday.

Mitzi enjoying the sun.

Mitzi enjoying the sun.

Of course, Mitzi was around today, and after a couple of feeds (…New David had fed her the first time…), she wasted no time in getting her head down for some well-earned rest.  If you click twice on the photo to fully enlarge it, you’ll notice that her eyes are in the shade of a nearby post stuck in the ground out of shot.

This, of course, is fully intentional.  Well, she likes the sun: it feels so warm on her thick fur, but she doesn’t want to be blinded by it!

Of course, it soon moved, and rather than go to all the trouble of moving and getting comfy again, she lazily walked over to her still-mostly-full second bowl of food and demolished it.

Greedy?  Of course not! She needs to keep her strength up for tonight’s hunting!

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