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Apr 23 2009

Posted By: Paul 08/05/2009 07:23:00

Another cracking week weather wise, no frost, heavy dew overnight and beautiful sun during the day.

I've been digging out the depths of the compost heap this week and putting the compost onto the flower beds around the garden. Whilst digging through I had to lock the chickens up as they where climbing in the heap with me and pulling the worms off the fork, and some of the worms are as thick as my finger. Giant things they where! with a caged audience watching each fork full of compost intently for the smallest wriggle I continued the work. As I got deeper into the heap I started to uncover large bindweed roots from the wild garden next door. Rather than add them to the beds and complete their invasion of my garden I started to sieve the compost, initially with a hand sieve, and then after my fathers suggestion I created a frame of wood which fitted over the wheelbarrow and pinned to it a wire mesh. Then each fork full of compost could be sieved with ease and the roots, stones and large twigs could be discarded. Unfortunately, the larger worms where also sieved out of the compost which just inflamed the situation with the chickens, who where by now in a frenzy trying to get to this large pile of discarded material and giant worms. I decided it maybe a good idea to placate them with a handful of the worms, so I sorted out some of the more lethargic worms and threw them over the fence to their chickeney fate. I think the best way of describing the scene which followed as the same as the scene on wildlife programs where some unfortunate creature falls into the Amazon, and is devoured by Piranhas. Mercifully it was over quickly and the chickens returned to the fence once again to watch the rest of the pile intently. They now clearly had 'wormlust' and only one thing could quench their thirst. Fortunately for the worms I had reached the back of the heap now and on removing the back board I found a huge colony of slugs and snails, and in no time they found themselves thrown into the 'Chickens Den'. Whilst the chickens where distracted I sorted through the pile of worms and distributed them to safety around the garden to continue their good work.

Now that I'm sieving the compost it's fine enough to use it for seedlings and repotting plants, and I should have enough to plant all the tomatoes as well. Which means this year I haven't spent any money on compost, Hooray!

On the allotment I have decided to change my plans for the Squash bed, and I'm going to plant the 'Three Sisters' in the bed instead, I've never had any serious attempts at growing the sisters so it's going to be a bit of an experiment. I've decided to go for Beans and Squash which can be stored, and the beans can be dried to use through the winter. I am trying these varieties F1 Applause Corn, F1 Crown Prince Squashes, and Borlotto Beans. I have been doing quite a bit of research into the Three Sisters and there doesn't seem to be a definitive guide explaining the varieties to grow, for the best results based on different regions, so if you have successfully grown all three and can remember the varieties drop me an email and I'll add your results to the gardening guide.

The weekend weather looks like a washout, but the surf on the southwest looks promising, so it might have to be a non-gardening weekend.

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