composting with the help of pet ducks at PumpjackPiddlewick

“The sun is finally deigning to show its face and its almost warm. Spring is definitely late this year, at least in terms of things coming up and going in to the garden.  I’m a little behind in my getting the soil ready for planting, composting and getting seeds in, but I leave it to my common senses to determine what to do when and just see what happens.”

This was the beginning of a blog post I wrote in spring of 2015. And honestly I could have written the same paragraph this year. Which is kinda cool. It’s especially cool because this spring has also been dragging its heels.

I am not one for keeping a diary, but in a sense my regular blog posts are my diary for me. A chance to look back and re-read, review, maybe update and repost. Like this one. So in re-reading this post, it’s actually good to know spring took its time before. Quite often before, it turns out, which shows how the memory plays tricks, and a diary (in whatever format) is actually useful.

All this review started because I’ve been thinking about asparagus. This time last year it was definitely making itself known, but this year we were all being lazy about coming out into the cold. I had spent the last week making sure their bed was weed free, but hadn’t seen a sign of them. Another check this week though revealed a few had started to poke their heads above the soil to enjoy some sun. I figured it might be  helpful to give them a bit of a boost, an energy drink if you like.

We’ve been building a nice compost heap in our bins since this time last year, so I assumed it was cured enough and ready.  It looked a lovely chocolaty brown anyway. I duly loaded up my wheel barrel and carted it to the asparagus. And there found the ducks, ready to help. They are good that way.

I started by loosening the soil around the asparagus crowns. As I worked my way down the row, the ducks followed, foraging and begging for treats in different measures.

This year we are starting our permaculture adventure. A no dig policy. I like the idea of not digging but rather layering up the soil. Like a lasagna. It’s actually a real term in gardening ‘lasagna gardening’. Also sometimes called ‘lazy gardening’ because you don’t have to dig and turn over your soil. Instead it’s more about mulching, composting, and letting dead leaves lie.

I spread the compost over the top of the asparagus patch. Again, ducks fell in behind, or got under foot, chatting away with great glee as we worked our way down the row, and trilling happily over the odd grub or worm received.

Ducks, unlike chickens (who are also fun to garden with), are not so much for digging as begging. They prefer not to get their flippers muddy. But they certainly like to give lots of advice. That had to be some of the best few hours of gardening I have ever spent.

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