Friday, 27 July 2012

compost

You can always tell when your allotment is running away from you when you clear so many weeds that you fill two trailers full. And two thirds of the allotment to go!

But all of this organic matter is heaven sent to a soil that is crying out for some heart. Our Cordwood soil is thin and meagre sand and needs all the help we can give it.

So - to work!!

The weedy material has to be chopped to speed the breakdown into a friable compost.

This is then mixed with other material I've gathered that is waiting to be processed: lawn cuttings and other accumulated weeds.

As a layer of green material is built up in the compost bin, I add a barrow load of manure; then another layer of weeds and then a barrow load of wood chippings and a dusting of lime ... and so on until the section is full. The manure is what Lawrence Hills termed an 'activator' - adding necessary microbes to the mix to speed decay. It is important that the compost is sufficiently moist so water is added as the 'compost lasagne' is layered up.

This is then left for several weeks. The green material (especially lawn clippings) will heat the compost, killing weed seeds and speeding decay.  In a few weeks the heap will cool and then the real hard slog of moving the contents into the next section along to ensure all materials are properly mixed and that the compost is given a good shot of oxygen to further speed the breakdown of the compost.

And then 'hey presto!' (or as 'hey presto!' as moving cubic metres of organic matter can be) we have well rotted compost that can be added to the soil of our developing vegetable garden.

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