Tuesday 8 September 2015

Ground Breaking

Doing my blog post early today as I have things I want to get done this evening,
Sunshine day again bed stripped washed and drying in the sun first thing,
Then Martin was packed and ready to go back to work with a load of food to take back with him, I picked another 6 cucumbers this morning so he has taken them back for the office staff.
Wheeled the onions and garlic back outside to enjoy the sunshine then it was get stuck into some soil conditioning. 
First I wanted to get Lambert's fleece out of the fermenting bin, it was ripe and ready I have done a post on my craft blog here Fermenting Fleece 
While the fleece was dripping I got to work on the raised bed, 
 I loosened up the surface and removed any weeds
 The weeds went into the worm compost bin along with a few dead mice 
Then it was time to break out compost heap number 1
 It is alive with worms good black stuff
 The heap has done well, I used about a third of it today,
 I took off the top layer that isn't ready yet and put it into heap number 2, when I have finished the first heap number 2 will get turned into the space of number 1
It was spread out over the bed and will be left like this over winter, the worms will do a great job, the bed being rested and replenished will be ready to get back into action next spring, this bed will be sweet corn and squashes next year.
I have made a start on the second bed to get this treatment 
this bed has been weeded and loosened and had a sprinkling of Alpaca poo added, tomorrow I will get some of the Alpaca poo on to it, again it will be rested until the spring, there is a third bed to do as well but I still have some veg growing in it. 
I am not an expert on compost heaps I know they need a good mixture of decomposing matter and need to be turned a few times to help the break down of matter, I put everything on mine, from animal bedding, poultry house cleanings, paper cardboard, green stuff it does get mixed up, I haven't added worms to it they have arrived by themselves, it doesn't smell  at all and in summer it was a good temperature, it has now cooled down and has decomposed into a good nutrient that will condition the soil. 
I have been getting a few messages asking how I got started with our lifestyle and could I give and advice, for me it started many many years ago before we had a small holding, but you dont want the long boring story, I am not an expert on running a smallholding there are enough of those in blog land or claim to be so I thought I would do a post each week on the subject, there are many good blogs by genuine people out there so I shall start with that I wont bother with the ones who pretend to live the life you will come across those yourself, Wednesday will be my day to post on this subject,
Right I have things to do see you tomorrow :-)



  1. Raised bed and compost heaps look great Dawn :-)
    I'm also very keen to read your Wednesday post! A smallholding is something I hope to achieve one day, but I know A LOT of work and thought needs to go into it before I'm at that stage so all your wonderful advice will be greatly appreciated :)

  2. Wonderful alpaca poo in the garden!! I have a neighbour who grows similar produce but has no alpacas. The difference in veggie growth between our two gardens is very apparent...

  3. Very useful post as usual Dawn, looking forward to the posts about smallholding. I would be happy if I could grow just a few of my own veg :)

  4. I will be interested to read your new series of posts as although I am not going to be taking up smallholding anytime soon, I still find it interesting and learn new things from you all the time! xx

  5. Before I started gardening, I though compost heaps were smelly things but they really aren't just so long as there's a good mix of things in them. Looking forward to reading your new series.

  6. Look forward to tomorrows blog Dawn. Your treatment of those raised beds seems absolutely first class to me.

  7. I have several compost piles, according to what goes on it ie grass cuttings in one, chicken poo on another (very strong), and the rabbit straw and droppings on another if I'm not using straight away as a mulch. Sounds complicated but works for me, just confuses the rest of the family!

  8. you are amazingly busy; lots of good things in this post now go get a good night's sleep. you've earned it.

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  10. I just tried to post a comment and it all went wrong!! I think you're marvellous. I would love a small holding but I don't think is cope. You are clever and adaptable. My aim is to grow as much as possible so that we maintain a healthier lifestyle throughout our retirement.


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