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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

When conditions allow

It's 84F in the greenhouse, so I think I'll work in the garden instead. We do things when conditions allow, and as conditions are, strangely, allowing in December instead of April, away we go, in shirt sleeves and sun hat -- 55F out. After six weeks, the poultry have been excluded from paradise and it's time to rebuild the beds the chickens have leveled with, and made indistinguishable from, the paths.

As usual I try this with a rake and as usual find myself switching to the five-tined general purpose long-handled fork. It's a tool I wouldn't be without. Ours is not an expensive model but it has held up for years.

Here, the beds are beginning to shape up. The ridges are actually at the edges of the beds, two ridges to the bed, and we'll be filling the middles in with garden waste, binned compost, kitchen waste, straw, leaves and grass clippings. Even grape and fruit tree prunings go into this mix. The beds on the ends, which are perennial soft fruit plantings, will also get sawdust, found eggs of dubious date, and conifer prunings.

Here's the binned compost going onto the beds. We prefer, as you can see from the preceding paragraph, to sheet compost but a summer barn cleaning was too "hot" to go to the garden (poultry manure should wait ninety days ideally) and so was piled up by the compost barrel last year.

What a contrast to summer!


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