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Machines, Mulching & Bracken Compost

It’s been glorious, blue skies and actual sunshine from dawn to dusk but we’re ready for a bit of rain now. Last Thursday was a family day off to celebrate my Grandson’s first birthday. He liked his presents nearly as much as the boxes they came in.

Friday onwards has been outside time. The thing is that the weeds have been loving the weather too and the grass seems to grow an inch overnight. In fact the one thing that grows really well here is grass. Clear a patch, go in for a cuppa and when you come back to sow, it’s covered in grass again!In some areas the grass is too tall for the lawnmower to cope with so out with the strimmer.

Strimmer Problems

Now older people will remember the fun every year at Christmas when the decorations came down from the loft or out of the back of the cupboard. The fun really started with the tree lights. They never worked out of the box and a frustrating couple of hours followed, tightening bulbs and swapping bulbs until the faulty one was found and they finally lit. Now we have LED and they’re on first go.

It’s a bit like that with petrol powered tools, the first time they come out for the new season. Will they work or won’t they? And so it was with the strimmer. The fuel was mixed with the oil, which involves fishing out the manual to check it’s a 25 to 1 mix, carburettor primed and pull the cord.

And pull the cord over and over. With the choke open, closed, set at half way but not a cough. Leave it in case it’s flooded, then try again. After an hour, I’d managed to get it to run for two seconds. I was beginning to think I’d be faster grass cutting with a pair of scissors.

To the rescue came my son-in-law who soon had the cover off the motor and bits on the table. The air filter was washed, spark plug cleaned and goodness knows what else. End result was a strimmer roaring away and grass being cut down to size.

Mulching with Grass Cuttings

We’re blessed, if that’s the word, with a lot of grass to cut and letting it get out of hand is not a good idea. Just carting the cuttings away is a tiring job. Those cutting are useful though. Mulching under the fruit bushes and this year, mulching the potatoes instead of earthing up.

I think I’ll try mulching more this year. Although one of the major recommendations for mulching is retaining moisture in the soil, which is not a problem in our rainy area, it also holds back weed growth. It’s a bit silly to waste a free natural resource.

Bracken Compost

Talking of free natural resources, we’ve a lot of bracken on a patch of land between our place and the road. I was a little wary about using it as I’d heard bracken contains poison but having done some reading up, it can be composted safely so long as it is well broken up.

The plan is to cut it, cart it up to the bins and shred it. Mixed with the grass it should rot down to provide a good humus rich compost.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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