Yippee Ki …

Plot 17 – The Earthly Comforts Garden

Recovering Plot 17
Yippee Ki …
The allotment at 1030 am this morning – not looking that bad really given all the rains we have had fall in the last few weeks.

The compost area, upon arrival, was a different story however was still holding its own. We managed to rearrange the tarps covering the boxes differently with supports and strengthen them, as well as raise the cover sheets a bit with planking beneath the tarps on both composts. We should experience way less rain pooling on the sheets now.

Three full bokashi bins and garden and paper wastes were emptied into the compost unit, and 100lb of coffee grounds.

I am glad that the last time we were at the allotment, we covered the grounds around the composters with weed matting. This has made for a significant improvement in walking and working with it. Our next step will be to rake a ton of bark chips into this area.

The good news was that this morning Suze and l were able to get down to the allotment for a few hours, of which we spent that time well indeed.

One of the moves l am pleased with is covering large portions of the grounds. We have ground sheets on bare soils and raised beds. This was a blessing as it allowed the earth to recover and rest whilst benefiting from the falling rains. But also, it has meant that the weeds will only cover some areas and NOT the entirety of Plot 17.

Weeds are plenty on some still naked bare earthen patches, but none are on the areas with sheeting applied. Of the entire site of the allotment, we are perhaps with an 80% total coverage of weed matting. That will make a massive difference in the spring and warmer months when weeds only have to see a splash of light, and suddenly the area is a jungle!

If Suze and l could have one sunny’ish day a week throughout December, we could achieve everything we need to do on the plot. The worm farms are more accessible to complete because they are behind the house in the garden.

The things we have left to achieve for Stage 2 are primarily little things on the plot. Cutting the old pear tree down to stump level, pruning back the fig tree, weeding and matting the front of the wildlife orchard area, and weeding the back areas behind and around the shed. Also, the big job is to bark chip the compost areas and the pathways around the allotment plot. The latter makes working in wetter weather easier as you will not walk directly onto mud but only on the chippings.

The jobs to complete are – to realign the two trio compost bays. They are too close, so we need to move the two sets of three apart by six inches so we can groundsheet them more effectively. The final task of Stage 2 is to apply all the soils into the raised beds before the end of December.

Today whilst not being able to move the compost bays, we finally managed to sort out how the units are trapping water in the groundsheets. Not a massive cause for concern but still something that needs addressing.

I have seven Bokashi bin units, and it’s not hard, given the amount of food waste l have each week, either produced by our house or gifted to me by my neighbours, to fill one bin up completely each week. So if we cannot get them down to the allotment and into compost units, we will have a massive backlog.

The units also need to stand for two to three weeks to ferment properly before being added to the compost. I had three full bins in the allotment at four weeks old, needing to be added to the compost, and three two-week-old units to take down there with only one unit empty. So we REALLY needed to get to the allotment to offload.

The current working compost unit at the allotment is a one-ton closed New Zealand box unit. It chomps garden wastes, bokashi, and coffee down at the rate of 9 cubic feet every fourteen days, which is a hell of a burn-off when it’s not being turned every three days. It is burning by sheer volume alone and feeding off the content.

Every two weeks, l add in a new batch of perhaps 250 litres of the mixed garden, bokashi waste, and coffee grounds combined, dig it down to 18″ depth, and cover it with a fundamental and easy turnover.

It could be better composting, but it will suffice until l can be there regularly and utilise the six smaller compost bins l have. The pooled rainwater is never wasted as it is added in or drained off into the compost bin, ensuring it stays moist.

But today, we managed to sort the bins out to prevent significant water build-ups from happening with the tarps covering the compost bins. The next time we visit will undoubtedly be after the rains, so it will be interesting to see if the moves we have implemented today mean no more huge inward puddles.

We were finished after a few hours, compost sorted, compost bins sorted, three empty bokashi units and a 100lb coffee grounds lighter! Also, because we could clear the bulk of the alleyway behind the house, we can now start the final worm farm harvest and finish off Willow garden properly!

We have to hope we have four to seven clear days until the end of the month for us to celebrate with a full Yippee Ki Yay!

We think that a ton of bark chippings spread into the compost area here alone will be a sufficient ammount to make it even more functional. Whilst for the remainder of the allotment’s area will probably require maybe an additional three tons.
For the time being the old worm farm sleeves make for ideal and tidy storage caddies.

Thanks for reading – l’ll catch you next time.

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

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