Spring is getting closer by the day and my fruit trees are in full bloom.
Raising chickens creates a lot of really good compost, but it only works if you have enough green material to mix in with all that dirty straw. This week, I collected all the straw from my chicken run and used it to create a new compost pile. Then, I took all the bedding from the coop, moved it to the chicken run (for my next batch of compost), and gave them fresh straw in the coop. They don’t seem to care, but it makes me happy!
Then I took lawn mowings, fava bean trimmings, and some other green materials to mix into the pile. I mixed it all together, watering each layer as I went, to give those helpful microbes everything they needed to get the job done. It must be working because the compost pile heated up to 154°F yesterday morning and there had even been patches of frost on the lawn! Yay microbes!
The netted panels I put on my raised bed have worked wonders at keeping birds away from seeds and seedlings.
There have been many battles over the birdhouses that I mounted on my tree cages, however. The original holes were the right size for indigenous bluebirds, finches, and wrens, but a Nuttall’s woodpecker kept making the openings larger, so English sparrows claimed all four boxes.
It’s feeding time!
Since my soil tests indicate I already have too much of everything besides iron, all my compost will be used to top dress the raised beds, once it has been properly aged, making the manure safe. This will add nutrients, shade the soil, and increase soil organic matter. The actual soil on my property got nothing but nitrogen and iron, since that’s all it needs. I gave my roses and fruit and nut trees their spring feedings of urea, an excellent source of nitrogen.
I’ve given up on removing lawn grasses with a spreading habit. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to be that picky. I’ll just have to keep it mowed as short as possible during the cooler months and remove only the most obnoxious specimens.
Hairy bittercress has begun to appear, so I am diligently removing them every time I see them. You know what they say, “One year of seeds, seven years of weeds.” Last year was my hairy bittercress weed year and I was not as diligent as I should have been. Bermuda buttercup is trying to invade, as well. I actually like the flowers, but I know how invasive these plants can become, so I hoe them down every time they come under the fence.
What weeds cause you the most grief in your garden? How do you deal with them?
Let us know in the Comments!
Kate Russell, writer, gardener, and so much more.