Sunday, October 5, 2014

In place composting experiment continues

A little less than a year ago I threw shredded leaves all over a low spot in my back yard in hopes that they would compost in place.  I'm pretty pleased with the results so far.  It's clear that a lot of the leaves have broken down.  When I walk through there and kick over the remaining shredded leaves I find earthworms everywhere.  There's a lot of life in and under there.

The question now is, how do I transition this area back into yard?  I'm not sure I have the best answer to that, but I can tell you what I've done so far.  Last month I sorted through my seeds.  I found a lot of carrot seeds that were old.  They got tossed into this area.  I also found turnip and rutabaga seeds that I didn't even know I had.  I threw a bunch of those down too.  Then I threw down some of my cover crop seed, clover, wheat, and hairy vetch.  Now this area is turning green with more life.
I don't know if the combination of what I put down was a good idea or not.  The carrots, turnips and rutabagas are root crops.  I figured they would put down tap roots that would break up the hard soil under this new compost (and provide something to eat).  That's my theory anyway.  I don't know if it'll work.
The cover crops, the wheat, and hairy vetch should grow some root structures to hold the compost in place.  They also provide green material that will die or be cut down to add more compostable material to the area. 
Amazingly enough, the chickens have left this new growth alone.  I haven't seen them in this area at all.  Normally they get into and eat whatever they can.  Maybe fear of being eaten by a hawk is keeping them from venturing too far into the yard.

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