Archive for October 1st, 2008

Lasagna gardening

The vegetable garden is one step nearer completion! Well, in theory. Ok, so there’s one less thing I need to do in order to have a vegetable garden.

It’s called a lasagna garden!

No, I haven’t gone crackers. There really is a system called “lasagna gardening” and the concept is so simple, you can hear the wails and cries from that great compost heap in the sky.

In order to create your near-perfect patch, first of all you need to put away your fork and spade. That’s right, put them away. You don’t need them. Well, you might need the fork, but only for chucking stuff about, not digging.

This is a dig-free zone.

Figure out where your patch will be, allow for paths and easy reach, and then mark it somehow using string or a hose or whatever you like.

Get your hands on loads of newspaper or cardboard.

Put a nice thick layer of newspaper/cardboard on the ground where you want the patch to go.

Wet the newspaper/cardboard until it’s nice and soggy – or, better still, put it out before it’s due to rain then let nature do some work for you.

Once it’s soggy, cover it with a nice thick layer of a “brown” compost material, such as grass clippings or used hay or straw or animal poo, etc. Then cover with a “green” layer (veggie peelings, etc). Then brown, then green. (Do you see where the “lasagne” bit comes from?!) You can add more layers of newspaper but I understand you don’t really need to. Unless your heap is going wonky!

When you’ve got a deep enough pile (about 12 inches) you can either leave it as is or cover with black plastic. My research shows there are advocates of both. Your choice, though to my mind, surely the plastic (a) aids decomposition and (b) stops it blowing everywhere? But then again, if it’s covered with plastic, it’s waterproof so the rain can’t help you. Like I said your choice.

If you do this in the autumn and leave it over the winter, come spring you’ll have lovely rich soil just waiting for you to plant your veggies.

I’ve got the cardboard, I just need to move the chickens off the patch so I can get going. But that’s a whole other story that requires a bit of patience before a post is written…

Always take the weather with you

Ok, so the weather’s a mighty dull topic of bloggage but bear with me – thanks to the piggies and chickens, I spend a great proportion of my day outdoors, so getting it right weather-wise is quite a priority.

But I’m mighty confused.

iGoogle tells me that over the next few days, I can expect it to be cloudy but not that wet:

Weather forecast from iGoogle on 1 Otober 2008

Weather forecast from iGoogle on 1 Otober 2008

But Auntie tells me the opposite:

Weather forecast from the BBC on 1 October 2008

Weather forecast from the BBC on 1 October 2008

I do believe that when I go to the farm in about an hour, I shall take enough clothing to cover all possibilities. This will include:

  • My fleece jacket, which is nice and warm but obviously useless if any overhanging clouds explode
  • My light jacket, in case the clouds do explode
  • My winter waterproof, which I hate wearing at this time of year because it’s far too warm for autumn but my light jacket really won’t be much help if the exploding cloud is joined by some friends
  • My waterproof trousers, because I’d rather not spend the day in soaking wet jeans
  • My (ok, B’s) waterproof hat, for obvious reasons. Can be worn in any weather conditions. Especially useful for painting ceilings and cutting brambles. Though if you’re doing this at the same time, I’m worried.

Oh, and while I’m on this rather dull (but apparently very British) subject, here’s a quick peak at the beta version of the BBC’s new weather site:

Weather forceast from the BBC (beta) on 1 October 2008

Weather forceast from the BBC (beta) on 1 October 2008

Oh, and thanks to the rain we’ve had this week, wellies are a must no matter what. But that’s ok, coz they’re really sexy. Honest. Especially when worn with my waterproof trousers…