I want to spend every spare minute I have in the garden right now. The light is beautiful and it's not too hot. Yet.
I always get distracted from what I'm supposed to be doing. This morning was no different. I took my camera down and took a few pictures.
1. Our first snow peas are ready.
2. My little experiment with nasturtiums. We used to grow nasturtiums in England to eat, but right now I want them as a companion plant. Aphids love nasturtiums, so the plan is they'll love my cabbages and broccoli a little less. The thing is I can't get hold of nasturtium seeds through my plant man, so I went for a little walk and took some cuttings. They sat in water in the kitchen for a couple of weeks until I noticed some roots. Luca and I are after plenty of brilliant orange flowers so I stuck them in the poorest soil I could find near the brassica beds (nasturtiums don't like rich soil; you get more flowers if you hold back on the fertiliser and compost). Fingers crossed.
3. I'd actually forgotten I planted cauliflower. I got quite a surprise when I poked through some leaves and found this creamy white head.
4. A bed all ready for this season's crop of tomatoes and basil. It had sunk down a fair bit through the winter, so I followed the same no-dig garden method and topped with alternating layers of carbon (hay, cardboard) and nitrogen (mushroom compost, veggie scraps, lawn clippings).
5. Our first homegrown broccoli. Lovely but not quite the tight heads I was hoping for. Or does that not matter? And does anyone know why it's all going to flower so quickly?
6. Tomato seedlings in.
Then I got stuck into the one thing I've been looking forward to for weeks. Filling a compost bin to make soil. Number one compost bin is already full and takes the odd bucket of scraps from the kitchen but it's time to start another one.
Making compost is more than throwing in kitchen scraps at the bottom of an empty bin with the occasional bit of cardboard and grass (just because they can go in) and hoping for magic one day. We composted this way for years and abracadabra all we got was slime. With broken egg shell.
I've learnt there's a little bit of science. Much like no-dig gardening.
I'm not exactly sure why I love filling a compost bin. Is it because I like adding a bit of this and a bit of that, put a lid on and leave the rest to nature? Is it because I find it incredibly satisfying to put household waste (newspapers, office paper, vegetable peelings, ahem urine*) to really good use? Is it the thrill of making something else other than food from scratch and saving a bit more money?
Probably all of the above.
The boys shredded paper. I filled buckets with water and a dash of molasses (blackstrap molasses does wonders for the micro-organisms, which help break everything down, and gets all the worms rushing in).
It'll sink down in a few days leaving us room to add our scraps.
Then abracadabra we'll have homemade compost. Very soon.
Congratulations to Libby who wins Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion.
* Graeme often 'waters' the garden when he gets in from work. You know, when it's dark and no one can see. He walks through the door and announces he's given the beds a good dose of nitrogen. He'll be doing the same to the compost bins as long as I remind him. Seriously, if you garden, urine is a valuable resource.