This season of mellow fruitfulness has tipped over now from manic seed sowing through to clearing plants and focusing on my favourite - composting!
We had a very busy week of clearing weeds, spent crops, cutting back plants and generally having a good look through the beds reviewing what's what.
I loved it.
Piles of weeds, nettles, comfrey, chicken bedding, grass clippings, fruit tree shredding and floristry sniping all grew in size until yesterday afternoon when the rain fell, Barb and I made a huge compost cake. Piling up all the ingredient in fairly equal layers together with recently made fresh compost to 'activate'. A good watering on each layers, then finishing with compost to cap, it's done. I had a look just now, and already the temperature has risen by 10 degrees and I hope it will swiftly rise over this weekend to kill off seedlings and begin the alchemy of decomposition.
The cake will sit now for 6 months.
We will break it open in March and use it to mulch across beds - cutting down cover crops and planting out the summer sown annuals ready for the beginning of the 'season' for cutting flowers.
More about composting in this months column for 'Cambridge Edition' here
This weekend is a great one for making your own compost heap. Leave a comment if you have any questions. If I can inspire and help you do one thing, it is composting! And will make a huge difference for your gardens, plots and future flowers.
Jobs for the Weekend -
Clear weeds, cut spent flowering plants back and lightly prune fruit trees.
Cut the grass and edge
Collect everything up, pile up in a bay, composting bin, or simply in open ground between poles; water the layers well and top with compost or cardboard, carpet to keep rain off.
Buckwheat (green manure or cover crop) growing with nasturtiums and late autumn chrysanthemums. Keep soil covered for abundant growth.
Our huge composting cake made yesterday. We have the space to make one 2 metres wide but any size, any way of 'holding' the materials will do.
Finished heap capped with compost. Thermometer to measure the progress and heat of the heap.
Some of the flowers cut this week.