Composting

2018 Spring is late this year, April

Here in Cwmpengraig, West Wales, we have just enjoyed three whole days of sunshine and warmth, Spring has arrived a little later than usual! We are in the second half of April and up to now the weather has been very cold and very wet, with little opportunity to work in the garden. The last few days have therefor been busy, and I have been cutting back shrubs on a steep bank, and generally clearing away debris from battered remains of perennials and the leaf litter that has blown in from the surrounding woodlands. The shrub prunings have been dealt with with my new investment, a shredder, which is powerful (and noisy), producing chipped woody material that has gone straight on to my barkchip path behind the greenhouse, At the top of the garden. All of the leaf litter and soft debris has been mixed in with a freshly turned compost heap and covered to retain heat and to stop it from blowing around while it decomposes.

Snakeshead fritillary
Snakeshead fritillary growing in posts on the patio.

These snakeshead fritillaries were planted two years again in shallow pans, and like their sheltered position amongst the pots on my patio.

Sitting area garden
Patio area in my cottage garden
Containers and pots
Container gardening, perennials and herbs
Pots and containers
Small space gardening

My garden is very steep, so I have terraced it , and use a combination of raised beds and containers as well as the steep sloping areas that are very free draining and largely consist of shale. For the shale slopes I have planted ground cover, persicaria and hedera, as well as alpines.

Gardening on a steep slope
Steep terraced garden

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the arch will be covered this summer in rose florets (American pillar) as well as with clematis.

 

In the greenhouse
Sowing pumpkin

The Polycarbonate greenhouse was a casualty of the winter weather, and I have restored the roof with ingenuity and rhino tape! It should do the trick. So far, I have planted a tray ( a polystyrene box) of mixed lettuce, for cut and come again leaves, another with broadcast peas ( for early pea shoots), planted two cucumber plants, Seven pots of pumpkin seeds and a tomato (tumbling tom) that will later be transferred to a hanging basket.

Composting
Composting

This is compost corner. The heap on the right has been turned and all the cleared garden debris has been mixed in. This includes last year’s perennials, combed out pampas grass, fallen leaves, old brassica stalks, sludge from the bottom of the tin bath pond etc., along with vegetable kitchen waste, cardboard, used compost from emptied pots, seaweed, and other bits and pieces that add to the carbon and nitrogen mix. The heap on the left is fresh compost, being used as a sowing medium, a mulch, and as a soil conditioner as and where required in the garden. Also to the left is the worm farm, which I have now moved from its overwintering spot in the greenhouse. The worms have been quite active, creating a fine medium and plenty of “worm tea”.on investigation, I have noticed masses of tiny threads, which are worm babies!! ( indicating that they are still happy in their environment). The right upturned bin is a small, new compost bin, made by cutting the bottom off a plastic dustbin and inverting it. I am hoping to create a relatively fast compost mix in this just using kitchen vegetable waste and paper, with no woody stalks to break down ( they will go on the bigger covered )heap.

April garden

April in the garden
Container garden
Gardening in miniature
Small container garden
Miniature garden

My two miniature gardens, one in a shallow pan, one in an upturned metal lampshade, have survived another year. They are both approximately  ten years old! The top one has mosses, stonecrop, violets ( in bloom) and some tiny achillea, and also has a little tree (in bud, but not yet in leaf). The bottom one has mosses, saxifrage, violets, and a self seeded dicentra.

Jobs on the list of things to do in the garden include:-

Pressure wash the stone slabs on the patio, which have an algae growth from the winter.

Mulch the borders.

Re-pot two bay trees on the patio.

Put in some strong wire supports for the tallest perennials, e.g.  shasta  daisies, cornflowers.

Tie in roses and clematis around the arch.

Hopefully, the weather will continue to improve and we will soon have more sunny days like these.

My garden is also the backdrop that I use when photographing vintage clothes for Coolclobber and Floslingerie…..even more reason for keeping it pretty!