Tag Archives: compost

#NABLOPOMO: Compost clear out

I’m not very good at composting. I have two daleks on the plot, they have been in the same position for the last four years, they get filled and pretty much left to their own devices. I do add all the green waste that I can get my hands on, it is layered as well. Rather than put in, in an ad hoc fashion. I even have organic activator that gets added from time to time.

It is predominantly green garden waste and the occasional set of veggie peelings that gets parcelled up and put in. No food, very few onion skids and nothing cooked or citric. These can not only invite unwelcome guests, acidity can rather upset the worms that end up living in the compost bin.

Ma and I went today, the bells of the local church was tolling for Easter services. Ma wanted to pull up grass and weed, I probably should have had a job in mine too. The plot varies in level all over. Yet there are very obvious dips, where at times the soil is liable to flood and very little grows there. In emptying the daleks, I could actually start build up one bed on the top part of the plot that is always soggy, and doesn’t facilitate an awful lot of cultivation. And I also manage to put some into a 1mx1m raised bed that will also have some MPC put into it.

I was rather pleasantly surprised by the contents of the two compost bins. Firstly, by the fact that things have actually decomposed, and produced rather full bodied, fine tilth in places, compost. Secondly, the volume. I had easily six or seven full wheelbarrows full of compost that were trundled across to whether the plot dips. This dip, incidentally, is where ma has put her rescued spinach. I don’t want the plants to be dead before long, so this area would benefit from the extra support. Hopefully these will now start to be filled and the cycle will start again. I have chose to move the daleks, to where they can easily by unloaded. This means the dips and areas not yet cultivated. I am also thinking, of how easy it might be to use a compost bin to grow squashes. If the contents of the bin were covered with a mound of  MPC and a squash plant stuck on top. Apparently this can  be done!

Daleks don’t diet

dalek_two dalek_one

Composting shouldn’t be challenging, but I do find it challenging. Mostly as there is a habit to be started and then maintained. I found it very difficult to maintain last year. This year is about making it work. There is a kitchen caddy as well, so we can continue to compost suitable kitchen waste. Yesterday, as the weather was fine, Pops mowed the lawn. Today, off I trundled to the plot with a wheelbarrow of grass clippings and shredded paper. There are simple rules as to how and what you should put into compost, all predicated on layers of brown and green. The daleks were both filled with grass clippings layered with shredded paper. All being well, the daleks will continued to be fed. It is true what is said about the grass clippings being hot, they were certainly very warm to touch as they were piled into the daleks.

A tip given to me today by an allotment neighbour, was that if you are growing runner beans; mulch them with grass clippings to nitrogenise the soil. Not sure if this works, so answers on a post card for that please.

Some peas were sown out today, but not many. A handful of petite pois and kelvedon wonder pea were sown directly by way of experimentation. There is a possibility that I might soak some peas and then perhaps plant out once they have chitted. I would like to see however, if these come. These were sown by the netting that bisects the plot and also by the bean/pea netting. I will leave it a week or so perhaps, before I sow runner beans in modules. After this, there are always Dwarf French Beans  to be sown as well.

Summer flowering bulbs were also sank today. I had last year thought about these, but perhaps didn’t action them as well as I could have. Especially as last year all that was cultivated was weeds and super slugs. The logic behind this was, that since squashes and others require pollinators, summer flowering bulbs would facilitate. Seeing as they were now appearing in the shops, off I pootled to a poundshop and found quite a few. There are a number below that were sown today, before I got brain freeze with sheer number. A second batch will be sunk at a later date. If you have any ideas about the lis below, that would be lovely hear. A handful of the winter pansies and primulas that were planted last autumn have been spotted, so not an entirely lost cause.

  •  Freesias double
  • Acidanthera
  • Mixed Liatris Spicala
  • Oxalis Seppel
  • Gladioli Mixed
  • Purple Gladioli
  • Anemone Mr.Fokker
  • Gladioli Plum Tart
  • Iris Purple sensation
  • Mixed Sparaxis
  • Anemone Hollandia
  • Freesia Red Single
  • Gladioli Tradehorn
  • Gladioli Pink

….think  I have enough gladioli….

Last year, I had also planted some dahlias. Sadly, with the rain and general misery last year, the tubers met their make and were eaten by the clay. A very demoralising event, and an expensive folly. The jury is out as to whether I would like to plant them again, I rather like the  pom pom flower. I know that they are available in Wilkos, as well as a 99p shop!

In other news, Incredible sweetcorn has come through the surface of module dirt as have Crystal lemon and Femspot Cucumbers There are baby sunflowers also coming up.

On the subject of of sunflowers. May I introduce you to:


I heard about this from a fellow gardener and was rather intrigued. My seeds have just come through, and I will sowing very soon. All being well, I shall post what happens, so watch this space for that.

All to play for.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit




Have planted enough onions, I think, to sink a small ship. I won’t be sowing any more. I forget now, the different varieties. But there are brown, white, red and white onions covering a good eighty per cent of the plot. This, is going to make things difficult later on, I think as I plant to sow dwarf French beans too. The reasoning was to sow DFB’s where ever there was any spare space. As you may have already read, the autumn and winter was wall to wall rain. This more or less killed all of the overwintering onions and shallots. Some of the garlic, was more hardier than expected and it has taken off beautifully. On observation, whilst it is nice to see, it does appear to be on the smaller, thinner side. This could be, the elements or the variety, it is difficult to categorically identify cause and effect. It did make me happy though! To see the garlic standing there proudly on sentry duty. With a long way to June, July and August, the crop has plenty of time to fatten up. Besides, looking at the top, means nothing as to what is happening down below.

With the one bed that is chocca full of allieums, to see the green foliage is heartening. In the dark dankness of the autumn and winter, there was great difficulty in seeing the woods for the trees when everything seemed to be decimated. One could very well end up with a field of onions. It worked for Chicago….

There must be hundreds and hundreds of onions on the plot. Might keep mama h busy for a while. Have yet to think about how to store them, or how to dry them. Answers on post card please.

Grapevines. Two very brown and sticky grapevines, planted in the depths of autumn. One of which is still standing. Neither, seems to have rooted. Very disappointed, these were supposed to grow and bisect the plot. 

Broadbeans, have died a death. Those gangly, green creatures from last week; have become blackened beings. Those that I could see, that is. They have disappeared completely. I did think that they were too good to be true. I did direct sow a few last week. But I guess I will be sowing some more indoors. Very very disappointing since they were held back for such a long time. I’m not sure as to whether these will be in paper pots or traditional modules. Just very disheartening really. One could scream and shout.

Runner beans are thought of as happy saviour. This morning, I have been trying to think of the infrastructure as the title of the blog suggests. A couple of wig wams have been put up. And several rows of bamboo cane, to which pea and bean netting will be slung. It’s not very clear in the picture, imagine walls of beans. That will mean lots of beans being sown, again a matter of luck. You do realise that I won’t actually be able to reach the top of the canes to hanf the netting. May need adult supervision and aid for that one. Won’t be expensive netting either, just the cheap quidland variety. If they don’t all fall down in the wind.


Herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Garlic Chives, Golden and common sage, oregano, Russian and French tarragon  plus another one that isn’t labelled. This have been sat in the four tier blowaway for months-which is why the sage and chives look a bit worse for wear-and I would like to put them out onto the plot at some stage. Rather than sink them into open ground, they may take up space in the raised beds. Whilst it is still very early, squashes will be carefully considered. As to which ones, and where. Theoretically, one or two could be planted per bed. With three beds containing potatoes, that leaves nine beds in which a couple could take up residence. There are quite a few varieties in the seed stasher. To this day, Bruno the Ghost rider and Claude the courgette are very flukey, and most likely beginners luck!

Posh roses seem to be doing okay. Growing leaves and buds. The poundland ones, look exceptionally sorry for themselves and are a fraction of the size of the posh roses. So the jury really is still out on them. 

I am fighting a constant war with the raised beds, in terms of making sure there is material in them. There are two builders bags that contain leaf mold, and this will be used to add to the some of the beds. Then, hopefully, as I’ve been saying for months;  a layer of compost will be put onto the top. Today, I had half a lie in so didn’t muster of up the gusto to get it. Plus, as I look out the window; precipitation has arrived. As is expected with April. With having workable raised beds, it will feel as though there is progress and after a long time. Not sure that root veg will like it in there; what with the layers of leaf mold, garden waste and compost; can just imagine wonky carrots. Which aren’t a problem, per se! Would love to sow lots and lots of carrots. Not going to happen with the open ground, the clay is not best when a fine tilth is required. There is a bag of sand on hand, if I fancy digging that in somewhere.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit