Thursday, 14 April 2011

Wednesday 13th April 11

I had a message yesterday from Peter Tatham (who I spent a day with in Bradford last week) and he's coming to York tomorrow and has asked if he could pick up some potting compost, and some unriddled compost.  So today, I spent a lot of time sorting out a very large amount of growing media mix.

However, first I needed to deliver the last 5 sacks of compost to the beds at St Clements Church, and I'd been invited to go to the Green Party Office to stick labels on envelopes.  So, the compost was loaded up and when I got there, several people were busy dealing with the compost I'd taken down previously, so I helped them move the sacks to where they were needed, and I brought the empty sacks back with me.

The Green Party office wasn't ready for me to do the envelopes, so after waiting for a while, I came away, via a skip next to Holgate Villas, where a chap who was filling it gave me permission to mine it... in fact, he helped me get some wood out of it.  I also got a nice bucket and a load of cloth 'bags for life', 24 in total, which I gave to Richard at Country Fresh, to give out to people instead of plastic ones.  I came back with 2 boxes of compostables from there.

Back at home, after lunch, I already had 3 large sacks of mature compost riddled and waiting for something to happen to them. I got a load of leafmould, that had spent a year in the chicken wire enclosure and had been shoved into plastic sacks, and brought that up the garden to the soil sifter, and handful by handful, put it through.  The smallest bits fell through, and lumps, sticks, stones, cigarette filters and plastic rubbish all arrived at the other end of the cylinder, and fell into the builders bag, where I was able to sort out the rubbish from the stones and sticks, and put the remaining leafmould into a bag, giving it a rub between my palms, which broke up lumps and un-digested leaves, and this material I put back through the riddle, just once, to extract more powdery stuff.  This way, I got 4 really big bags of riddled leafmould, one big bag of still-recognisable leaves, plus a wooden fruit box full of sticks and other re-compostable material, and a few waste stones and bits of plastic string, smokers' litter, chocolate wrappers, etc.

I bagged up all the riddled leafmould and did a similar job with a load of loam.  I got 3 wheelbarrows full of old turf from a turf pile, material rescued from a skip several years ago.  I bunged this through the riddle, which screened out all the roots and mats of old grass, and stones, etc, but gave me a really large pile of very fine dusty loam.

So these three ingredients were what I needed to make potting compost, or 'container growing medium'.  However, I also got some old pots from the conservatory which I'd grown tomatoes in last year, plus a bit of sand which came from the Barbican Beds last year.  I then put 3 handfuls of leafmould in a bucket, plus 4 handfuls of compost, 2 handfuls of loam and a small handful of both sand and old soil, and threw this mix into the riddle, which seemed the best way to mix it up.  I did this again and again, and ended up with 9 large sacks of home-made growing media.  Some of these will go to Peter tomorrow morning, the others will go in our pots for growing veggies this year.

This took all afternoon... I came in for tea at about 7 and then went back out til 8.30, when it got too dark for the work to continue.

Then, after a wash, I went down to Green Drinks at the 3 Legged Mare.  Jennie was there, her last one as she's leaving to live in London, and Tom, Tomas and Eleanor, and then Peter Gay arrived, and Melanie, and June and Dave Taylor, and others... it was quite busy!

I came back via Millers Yard, and picked up some logs on the cycle track on the way home.... I got in after midnight.

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