10th May 2020

The possibility of a relaxation of the lockdown raises all our hopes that we may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We shall see! It does make us think about the possibility of taking our waste to the tip and a to visit our local garden centre.

Whatever announcements are made it is still vitally important that we need to stay at home as much as possible so that we continue to protect our community.

My small greenspace is now flourishing and I am cutting back and trimming every few days just so that I can reach the back gate! One thing I have been doing to cope with the volume of green material even my small urban greenspace generates is to increase my composting. There is plenty of advice on how we can do this, I find the RHS website really helpful, and I have a couple of friends who refer to composting as an art form!

I have three compost bins; one for woody material, one for finer clippings and a closed bin for the kitchen waste. I usually take the woody material in batches to my local tip towards the end of the year after I have cut back vines and pruned my fruit trees. The rest will get dug into to my veg bed or used as a mulch under my fruit trees. The birds love this as it is always full of insects and other invertebrates. There is always a black bird or one of the wrens nosing around there looking for something to eat.

I also live in hope that my composting will attract the occasional hedgehog or even a slow worm. They love the warmth of the compost and the supply of food that they find there. Unfortunately, both of these lovely animals have been in decline for a long time in our urban areas and the gardens along my part of the road are mostly walled which stops them from getting in.

When we were children we saw a lot more hedgehogs and used to put milk and bread out for them. Later in life I found out that this was not a good thing to do. Hedgehogs are carnivores, feeding on slugs, worms and insects so will if you want to feed them it is better to use dog or cat food, but nothing fish based. Also, remember that leaving out food like this will attract other creatures, such as cats, rats and foxes, so if you do decide to have a go keep a look out for what actually turns up!

Compost bins are fairly easy to build, as they are basically a three sided box with slatted sides. They are best placed on bare soil so that the soil organisms can get in easily. Remember that when composting, the most important thing is to mix in some air. This means turning it about once a month as it helps the microorganisms, mainly fungi and bacteria, break it down.

In many ways the compost bins are just one more habitat in my greenspace!

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