What a great green way to spend an early spring weekend!! First I laid down some newspapers on top of the terribly weedy area around the rhubarb. I weighed them all down with rocks for the time being…we’ll get a load of topsoil next week to cover the newspapers. The newspaper barrier will effectively kill the weeds and grass underneath and over time compost naturally into the earth…a greener and less backbreaking way to get rid of stubborn weeds.Next on my list of green things to do was preparing some manure tea to use this summer. Last year I used an old pillowcase that I filled with fresh horse manure, however, I discovered at the end of the season that the stitching had disintegrated leaving a slurry of manure in the bottom of the barrel. The solution to this problem is a plastic bucket that I drilled holes in to hold the manure like a tea-ball instead. That way when I want to make a fresh batch I can haul the bucket out for a much easier dump into the compost and repeat the process. This manure tea is great for enriched watering of the flower boxes as well as the tomatoes cucumbers and peppers in the greenhouse.
My next project was to fertilize around the raspberry canes that were transplanted last spring. They survived the transplant well…some even popped out a berry or two. This year they should do well if I keep them well watered and fertilized. To start the season off right for them I placed composted steer manure around each plant. I had a couple of bags extra which I spread about the two garden beds that will be planted with beans and peas in May.
I spent some time raking up some leaves that are still strewn about from last fall. So far I have collected 4 large garbage bags…I’ll be saving them to use on the floor of the new chicken coop which is currently under construction. We started by placing about 2 inches of sandy gravel on the natural clay base, followed by 1/2 inch hardware cloth turned up at the sides to prevent access by digging predators. We then added another 2 inches of sandy gravel on top of the hardware cloth. Once the building is completed the collected leaves will go onto the floor to create a natural microbial base under about 12 inches of wood chips. The goal is to create a less labour intensive yet safe, natural means of taking care of the chicken droppings inside the coop. In theory the poops should sift on down through the wood chips to the microbial substrate which will naturally break it down, with the aid of earthworms and other bugs…resulting in an odor-free healthy coop that requires cleaning out once a year. The broken down poops and substrate will make great compost to enrich the garden.