Sunday, October 29, 2006
We have been inspired by El at http://www.fastgrowtheweeds.blogspot.com. Over the past week she has been talking about collecting collecting up and shredding leaves, so today Zoe and I set to work on the bracken at the top of the copse.
We have two aims. Firstly we want to clear the bracken away from the bottom of the field but more importantly we want to make compost.
Compost is a difficult area for us. We grow without pesticides and herbicides and according to organic principles. I would love to use organic potting compost but 2 years ago we trialled 12 different organic composts for seed sowing and potting on and it was a disaster . Most of the seeds failed to germinate in the coarse twiggy compost and where I potted on germinated seedings into organic compost they actually shrank. I didn't have many back ups. I cried.
While organic composts are improving, they also come at a very high price premium and I think that the only long term solution is to begin making our own compost. We have begun a turf stack and will add to this when we strip out the front lawn in the Spring. I intend to mix the resulting loam with light moist composted bracken.
Zoe and I cut the fronds and are taking them up to an area of decking at the top of the field - if the weather is good we can leave them there to dry, otherwise they will have to go into the tunnel for a bit. I need them to be dry so that we can put them through the shredder to speed up the composting.
It was a lovely job - I am still wheezy with the cold - but my helper was fantastic and the sun had real heat in it. We managed to harvest an area about 10 feet by 20 feet, though I have my suspicions that it will rot down into a single bucket of leaf mould