For the past month or more, our main focus beyond plant growing and getting ready for markets has been constructing a massive compost bay. To house woodchip and manure that over time will become compost for mulching our outdoor beds. Also, to harvest gallons of rainwater from the bay roof!
A long stretch of dry and sunshine in early Spring. The sunniest on record and one of the driest. “The National Climate Information Centre at the Met Office revealed that April 2021 has had the third lowest average UK minimum temperature for the month since records began in 1884.” yourweather.co.uk
We fully expect challenging weather. It’s one of the motivations of offering perennial plants – they’re more resilient to extremes by having established root systems. As a nursery, we’re perpetually caring for young plants, at their most tender.
This year, being our first, we’re growing a lot of our stock from seed. Seedlings on greenhouse benches take regular watering but it at least can be regulated, as can the temperature to an extent. Outside, though, the dry beds need watering too. The new no dig beds we made are of deep, rich, wood-based compost. The cuttings and stock plants are mulched with grass clippings to retain moisture.
In the autumn, we’ll mulch the beds with more compost. That compost is currently decomposing in a sizeable pile. Now with a very smart, sturdy timber frame and metal roof. We know this structure will last.
In the spirit of the permaculture principle ‘obtain a yield’, the compost bay is multifunctional. It will also provide some storage space for screws, module trays, other odds and ends. More vitally, though, it will catch rainwater!
Some of the water will go on to the compost materials, most of it will be pumped uphill via a solar-charged pump, in order to water the beds and established potted plants.
The weather forecast for the next week has rain every day.
Come on with the rain, I’ve a smile on my face
I’ll walk down the lane with a happy refrain
And singin’ just singin’ in the rain