• Kay

Making tea (compost tea)


Today, Aideen is having some friends to visit (harp players), this is quite unusual as Aideen is not really a ‘social animal’, probably not really helped by practising the harp 4 or 5 hours a day! However, now she has completed her final recital she can finally let her hair down, at least a bit. These friends have never visited before so some tidying has to take place, including of myself!

We hang up the hanging baskets and I sort out the succulent/unusual object table. Just inside the kitchen garden gate are a group of tables which are a useful place to put some of the strange objects that we dig up at Church Gardens or that we salvaged from out-buildings when we first came to Church Gardens. These range from horse shoes to old glass bottles. There are also other things that we’ve collected including 5 ornamental bird cages and rusty weighing scales. Amongst these sit my collection of succulents that are outside for the summer. Aideen had brought them out of the polytunnel a while ago but nobody had arranged them or tidied the table. I put them into their proper places, sitting in organ pipes or stove pipes and inside bird cages, where they look strange but nice.

I generally tided up hoses, buckets of weeds etc. and cut back the comfrey, partly to neaten the border where it lives but also to make comfrey tea (an organic liquid fertiliser). I then found myself a more respectable T-shirt and shorts and disappeared off into the orchard to make my organic potions! I have a collection of old plastic barrels which I lined up alongside the shed in the compost yard. In one, I chopped up the comfrey and in another I gathered up all the nettles that Patrick had cut in the compost yard. I then pressed them down and weighed them down with bricks and then covered the leaves with water, about half filling the barrels. I then covered the barrels and they will be left to decompose in the water, quite a smelly process but worth the effort. I usually leave it quite a while (several months) but it can be used sooner. When I use it, I put some in a watering can and dilute it with some more water and water any plants that I think will benefit from the extra nutrients.

The next thing I decided to do was to plant the outdoor melons into the first two sections of cold frame, now vacated by the dahlias. I have 6 melon plants which I hope will do well in the cold frames – putting them in the coldframes was quite successful last year.

I then plant out some random plants in the shorter beds at each end of the fruit cage. Six tithonias (Mexican sunflowers), 3 scabacious and 1 heliopsis.

By this time Aideen’s friends had arrived and she spent some time showing them around the garden which they seemed to enjoy. I finished up by continuing to weed the terraces on the vine mount.

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