Jeezez, ‘Tis Perishing Out There!

Despite the often-referenced “stretch in the evening” we are still a long way from spring and warmer days. It was a brighter and drier day today than we have had in ages and we headed out to the garden, happy to have the chance to be out and to be doing a bit again.

There was a stack of garden pruning and cut-down herbaceous material waiting at the compost bin. It has been there since early to mid December but the weather had been too wet to venture out over the intervening weeks. Today was the day and I was delighted to get the heap cleared, shredded and piled up onto the compost heap. At this time of the year the compost hasn’t much chance of generating any great heat – it may warm up a little with this addition of new material but decomposition will be very slow at this time of the year. The worms and woodlice will work away at it at their own pace but nothing beats a good hot heap for speed of producing compost fit for spreading on the garden. This heap will probably benefit from a turning in late spring when I have the opportunity to add some fresh green material – grass cuttings are great to give a burst of heat!

We went out again in the afternoon, some light pruning of clematis, climbing roses and of a Parthenocissus henryana which we have growing on the walls of the garage. It was only light work, up and down a ladder, little movement and certainly not enough to keep one warm and by half past three it had become bitter and impossible to stay warm. It was time to call it a day and head indoors to the warmth of the house which was so very beautiful after the cold outdoors.

Everything shredded and added to the compost heap. You may wonder what green material would be available at this time of the year – the green top layer here. This is the recently cut foliage of hellebores and epimediums.

A week of this dry, breezy weather would have the garden dry out well and we look forward to being able to garden more regularly as the weather improves – all these days confined to the house can be trying!

And, just when you think you have it all cleared away, it begins to accumulate again – this afternoon’s prunings!

6 thoughts on “Jeezez, ‘Tis Perishing Out There!

  1. What satisfying work! I really like working on the compost, but I don’t have a shredder. Your pile of shredded twigs makes me think perhaps I should get one, the shredded twigs would be great as a mulch or to put around the chicken coop. No space in the shed though!

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  2. That was a good day’s work Paddy – yesterday I noticed that it was still light at 5 pm! Things are definitely moving in the right direction! Your compost heap is a joy to behold – isn’t it strange the things that bring happiness to us gardeners!

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    1. Oh, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I love my compost heap!!! Yes, I have always added cardboard and anything compostable from the house, newspapers, vegetable peelings etc. I find it breaks down as quickly as anything from the garden and certainly has never been evident, even noticeable, when digging out the compost. Twiggy material would be much slower to decompose. During the summer we have a lot of grass and the cardboard helps balance that, something dry and brown against the green and wet. Re speed: heaps made in spring can be used at the end of the year while those starting now won’t be ready until late summer – lack of green matter and heat. The cardboard makes no difference to the speed of the decomposition.

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