Sunday, April 8, 2012

Garden Momentum

Things are starting to heat up (literally) around our tiny garden.

Yesterday we mucked out the chicken run and coop. Last winter we had issues with puddling in the run. Our solution was to pour in a bunch of pea gravel and then cover that with our traditional thick layer of hay. We thought that would solve the problem. Of course, the hens were not on board with our plan and they proceeded to dig all the way down to the mud and generally make things worse. After the hay began to break down, we had a kind of adobe/cement-like substance with mud, gravel, and hay.

Not our finest moment.

So yesterday we dug down to the dirt again. This resulted in an overflowing compost bin. I dumped the muck in one 5-gallon bucket at a time, thoroughly wetting each layer with the hose. The finished pile was about 3 feet tall, 4 feet long, and 4 feet deep. I put the thermometer in and it read 70 degrees. I checked again at 5pm and it still read 70. But at 8AM today, it was over 100F! Unfortunately, the yard reeks as the composting begins and I hope my neighbors forgive us. I know this happens every time, but I always forget how bad it smells the first day.

We have two components in our compost that seem to refuse to break down: egg shells and pine shavings. Any idea how to get those to break down more quickly? Our garden has a layer of egg shells on top from where we dumped in some "finished" compost a few weeks ago.

Speaking of the garden.

That's arugula sprouting between those tomatillos. That's the small box. The larger box has some peppers, carrots, two kinds of onions from last year, turnips, peas, and a shallow bowl of salad greens that we'll share with the chickens. Everything has sprouted and I still have some garden motivation going.

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