Tuesday, 15 July 2008

summer's here, and the time is right

Composting is the life blood of the organic gardener. It is the way in which we add fertility and condition the soil. As well as the minerals and fertility added, organic compost adds billions of micro organisms to the soil. Healthy soil is essential for organic gardening.

In excavations of Iron Age settlements, curious holes have been discovered. Each would contain an artefact or offering. They are now explained by archaeologists as offerings to appease the spirits after pits had been dug into the earth to store grain.

As organic gardeners, are we sharing in that same thought process? Are we saying to Mother Earth, we give to you generous offerings of organic matter so that you will give generous harvests in return? There is something primal going on here.

So, as the warm weather of summer provides great conditions for decay, let me share with you my ritual.

In generous layers build up:

  1. material collected over previous weeks and months that is a mixture of weeds, kitchen vegetable waste, paper, chicken manure
  2. really fresh horse manure
  3. chopped stems and leaves of comfrey.
Add a sprinkling of lime to layers that don't come into contact with manure.

Water with diluted comfrey liquid.

Leave in compost bin until needed.

I feel that further authenticity could be added to this ancient ritual as the compost bin is finally filled and reaches the top. But my powers of persuasion only go so far...........

This rich compost will be used to fertilise our potato bed next spring.

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