Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rats!

BEFORE
Visits to the allotment get shorter and shorter as the nights draw in. Only managed 45 mins or so yesterday, but got a bit done. In the next week or so I'm going to be cutting back the borage and phacelia, and there's more weeding to be done, so I need a biggish compost container.

Today's "before" is the compost heap - household waste and all those nettles and thistles I weeded out in the summer, now much reduced in bulk. I tried hot-composting, but couldn't get it to heat up more than 5C above ambient temperature.

AFTER
So I'm just going to have to grin and bear that one, and hope there's not too many grass seeds in there that are still viable. I must have turned that bloody heap dozens of times, moving it all over the plot in the process, but now that I've given up on hot-composting, there's no point in turning it, and so it needs put in a proper container. Of some sort. I don't like these dalek things people use. I tried one a few years ago, and the material degraded, not into compost, but into a black sludge which smelt almost, but not quite, like shit.

Anyway, the rats. They just love the compost. Last week's vegetable peelings and bits from the chicken stock thrown on top of the heap were all mysteriously disappeared the next day. And I've twice seen rats in the vicinity - it's a rule of thumb, rats are ubiquitous, but when you actually start seeing them in daylight, they're overabundant and getting cheeky.

I've inherited from The Predecessor lots of grids of wire about 3x6ft. I dug down a spade's depth, and then lashed 4 of the grids together with wire, and put them in the hole I'd dug, refilling it. It won't be deep enough to keep a determined rat from tunnelling beneath the new compost cage, but it might deter the blighter somewhat.

And I should add, finally, that my compost as I forked it into the cage had that surprisingly pleasant odour which good compost should have.