Lovely Robyn came to help me with some weeding and tidying yesterday – she used to have a mini plot on my allotment, so she is particularly easy to work with, as she understands that for me, everything goes in circles 😉

My list was:

some cardboard boxes from new peeps moving in, that had been left out in the rain (big bed frame boxes)

new compost bin needed

weeding the rockery

more support for tomatoes and peas

weeding next year’s herb bed by the raised bed

-plus belated birthday brownies for her, a goodybag for help and to tide her over while finding work, and just generally catching up on what has been going on 😉

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We started with the new herb beds, pouring rainwater out of the weeding buckets over freepapers and the biggest delivery boxes. This area has been walked over a lot while the raised bed was built and tree felling was going on, so leaving it to soften (the worms will love it being damp and cool under the mulch) till autumn when the garden plan is clearer is sensible. I still can’t kneel and asking friends to weed an open space in a heatwave is….asking for trouble! So the mulch is laid, anchored with spare bricks and my tomato plants, which got some more staking at the same time.

After a drink and a chat in the shade on the edge of the rockery garden, Robyn clambered through the weedy undergrowth and set to on tidying it up: some before and after shots, it’s more striking in real life, promise 😉

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Scorching weather again yesterday, so she is wearing an upcycled Tshirt sweatband below the hat I lent her 😉 Between us we filled that giant yellow tub and a big bucket with ‘safe’ weeds, that is, weeds I don’t mind reproducing everywhere again if the compost isn’t hot enough to kill the seeds. So, foxglove, liquorice agastache, sticky weed, rosebay willowherb (fireweed) and any grass with soft roots (NOT twitch, which is the stuff with hard white roots that run for miles, given half a chance, grrr) and half a bucket of brambles, rubbish and big twigs, which go in the garden waste collection bin. The crystals and treasures all show up again, though there is more to do over the weekend, when Ben is there to open the shed to get the loppers out (sycamore and laurel, beware!)

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The fresh herbage went straight to the new compost bin, an upcycled hamstercage that I used for storing drying onions and garlic at the allotment. This was set in raked soil with a brick edging to keep it stable on the slope and encourage slugs to live where they’re useful. (Ever hopeful!) Then we used the smaller approved food boxes to line the bin, filled the bottom with soil, kitchen compost, soil, wet cardboard, soil, herbage, one year old leaves from the garden waste bin, more herbage…I filled the spare compost caddy with leaves to add when this heap has settled, probably two weeks in this heat.

STA45263There were some buckets of rainwater around so Robyn poured all those over the layers as the heap built.

As I’ve been making big batches of smoothies and freezing them, the kitchen compost is very acid at the moment, so the leaves (neutral) and the comfrey and foxglove bases (alkaline) will help make the heap more worm friendly. If you have access to fresh coffee grounds and egg shells, scattering them in too is great for the same reason. I also put cat combings and hairbrushings in, hoover dust (mine is 40% cat fur, 40% yarn and then random sparkles! Laughter over that with the homehelps 😉 )There is room for the next kitchen compost bags, but, as I said, in this weather the green herbage will drop/droop very quickly. Ideally it would have been chopped a bit, but I forgot to ask for the shed key the night before – oops! Ben mowed the badminton lawn before the rain, so I will add grass clippings to the potato crop compost bins to keep them mulched. I think there is a sweet potato plant in there too, these darker green oval leaves and the tiny purple flowers? STA45264

A lovely surprise was that the miniature rosebush Andy gave me ten years ago has survived yet again. (more lives than the cat!) It got very dry when I was having a flare a while ago, but lots of watering and a different position so it catches the rain better mean it is flourishing again – and flowering 😉

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