Friday 15 May 2015

Home-made compost

A couple of days ago I built another big raised bed, twice as deep as its predecessor. The soil from the previous bed was not sufficient to fill it, so I decided to add the contents of one of my three compost bins. Some of the material in that bin was at least a year old - really good stuff!

The easiest way to get access to the compost is to remove the bin from it entirely. I found that it was not possible to do this until I had removed about half of its contents, via the main (top) opening. Being the top part, this was the least well-composted, but then this was revealed:

The bottom half was dark and crumbly, just like light soil. There was enough to put a nice thick layer in the new bed, but also on two of the other beds as well.

The local bird population soon cottoned on to what was going on, and swooped down to pick out some choice goodies. I particularly noticed how many centipedes there were.

There are lots of Robins around here. This one seemed to have a very proprietorial air, so I guess the new bed is part of his territory. He was certainly doing his best to see off the competition.

This adolescent female Blackbird had obviously been well educated by its parents. It must have consumed its own weight in insects in half an hour! The extra depth of the new-style raised bed immediately proved its worth, because despite the compost-kicking antics of this bird, none of the compost spilled out onto the shingle.

With the mature compost removed and distributed, I took the opportunity to relocate the empty bin - something I had been planning to do for some while. The compost bin is now positioned against the bottom fence, next-door to the "insect hotel" and the log-pile. This releases a bit of space for me to expand the Comfrey patch. You can see some Comfrey in front of the black bin, at the left of the photo.

I will leave the fresh compost on the surface of the new bed for a week or so, giving the birds their opportunity for a feast, and then I will dig it in properly, because I will soon want to plant my Runner Beans in it. Runner Beans like moisture-retentive soil, so the addition of all this compost should be very beneficial to them.


  1. I'll be sifting compost from my pile today. I put sticks and things in mine, so those need to be sifted out and recomposted until they break down.

  2. Compost seems to be a popular spring topic. I've been working on mine as well. It seems like I never have enough.

  3. I have a plastic composter for kitchen scraps as well - I'll have to tackle it at some point soon as it's almost full. I've said that a few times over the past couple of months, but then it shrinks down and we find a bit more room to squeeze things in.

  4. Wow ! Your raised beds look amazing ! Did you make them yourself ? It all looks good and very healthy. Do you grow all your veg in the garden or do you also have an allotment ?
    I can't believe how many tomato plants you grow ! I had too many last year, but made my surplus toms into Italian sauce as a base for any Italian dish I made and then froze it in individual containers.
    I've only recently used the last one.

  5. Speaking of Backyard Nursery, check out Mark's Backyard Nursery on you tube. He has built a flourishing nursery in only two years and presents excellent educational videos on a huge range of planting topics. And he looks really sweet in his old bib overals, too. Be sure to visit him.

    1. I think I will raise my beds, too.
      Had good luvk moving raspberries which are flowering now. Have studied how to divide bearded iris and sold some. My little backyard nursery seems to be taking off in spite of my occasional laxity.


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