Signs of spring

What a treat to have this taste of spring right in the middle of February. My bank of crocuses have opened their faces to the sun every day this week; hellebore, snowdrops, and catkins have all been shining out; and bulbs are peeping through.  I’ve even been happy to see the weed seedlings emerge as it means the soil is slowly warming.

This afternoon I emptied the compost heap entirely and mulched the big border in the front garden.  Thankfully there was no sign of my furry friend (see Rat Trouble!) and instead I was joined by a female blackbird who was very brave, or very hungry, and stayed within a few feet for the best part of an hour. 

I was pretty pleased with the consistency of the compost, which has been in the bin for ages and is a mix of kitchen veggie waste plus the cleanings from the guinea pig hutch.  It made a fairly crumbly mix and, in digging it over, I learnt that eggshells break down very, very slowly and TeaPigs not at all. I felt as if I had fished out hundreds of Teapig ghosts. Their packaging says they are compostable, but maybe only in something hotter than a domestic heap. I left the eggshells in but crushed the more intact ones.

I have mulched round the plants with a nice thick layer, tucking in it around the box balls.  Don’t they look lovely and cosy under their mulchy duvet! The idea is that the mulch both improves the structure of the soil and the bacterial and fungal diversity for a healthy soil ecosystem, while also suppressing weeds. I am not too sure about the latter as I have self seeded nigella starting to come through – hopefully they won’t be smothered completely.  

With ‘normal’ temperatures due to return by the end of the week I’m hesitant about cutting to much back, but I’ve tried to tidy up enough to mulch effectively, while leaving some frost protection.

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