A summer of pruning has brought an autumn of compost making.
You're probably asking yourself why I so often seem be cutting plants back and this is a fair question, but the answer is simple, I could never have anticipated a season of such growth.
While we haven't had the cataracts of rain experienced elsewhere in the country, by Central Tablelands standards the past two years have been pretty wet.
Trees to ground covers are covered in dense foliage and in addition to my prunings there'll soon be autumn leaves waiting for disposal.
I've always found making compost enormously satisfying.
What goes around comes around and everything the garden produces eventually goes back to it.
As author Margaret Simons aptly says in her lovely 2004 book, compost truly is Resurrection in a Bucket (or bouquet as Hyacinth would doubtless have put it).
All things must die but in your compost heap they spring back to life in the form of nourishment for your garden.
If you get it right you can even look forward to a fertiliser free future, though exotic plants probably benefit from an occasional dose of superphosphate.
I compost most of our garden and kitchen waste.
Exceptions are left-over cooked scraps that might attract mice, and woody material that would take centuries to rot, though it often ends up on the compost anyway in the form of ash. I also burn perennial weeds and any seeds I'm not saving to sow, my compost not generating enough heat to destroy them.
Our two open ended compost bays have sides of old corrugated iron attached to star posts, theoretically one bay in use while the other fills up.
This year both were overflowing by Christmas so I covered them with hay and left them to it, and bought a bin to continue the process, more on this another day.
In order to decompose and turn into soil, compost heaps need air, water (place heaps near a tap), heat, nitrogen and bacteria.
The gazillion bacteria who carry out the rotting process feed on nitrogen.
The best source is manure but if you're a farmer rather than a cowman and don't have access to cowpats, don't worry, organic pelleted chook manure fertiliser is fine, maybe a handful per 30 centimetres depth of waste depending on the area of your bay.
Adding air to compost by turning with a shovel is heavy work, so instead I fork mine over every few weeks, it seems to do the job. Water compost regularly, it's vital in our climate.
I just checked my Christmas heaps and although they are dry on top, underneath everything has rotted down beautifully and there were quite a few worms.
I spread compost in winter once the last autumn leaves have fallen and dead plant material has been removed for next season's heaps.
The open, sunny parts of the garden are mulched with lucerne so the compost goes on the bare ground among trees, shrubs and bulbs, not forgetting Hamlet's admonition: Do not spread the compost on the weeds.
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