Hotbin and Robin

The weather has been dry & cold for a few days now which has meant brief and sporadic visits to the kitchen garden doing only the essentials: tending the hot composting bin, digging up parsnips & beetroot, and picking chard, spinach & kale.

An additional task at this time of year is surface-spreading well-aged garden compost around the kitchen garden. This is a good time of the year to do this as it allows the worms plenty of time to work the compost into the soil while helping to suppress weeds.

I operate a two-tier compost system starting with hot bins (above) to accelerate the composting process and kill off weeds/disease before finishing off with a maturation period of 6 months or more in standard bins (below).

My 'Maturation Bins' (MatBins for short) are full after a season of compost-making so they need to be emptied before the new season of vegetative growth starts and intensive composting resumes. For about a week now, I have been emptying one of the MatBins and spreading the unsieved compost on the raspberry bed. First of all, I rake back the bark mulch on the raspberry beds before spreading the compost to a depth of about 2.5 cm (1 inch) and then replacing the bark mulch.

Another party has been showing interest in my toils and visits every workday. You may just be able to spot him/her in the photo above. Here is a close-up taken on my phone...

Of course, the robin is not here to admire my work but quite fancies its chances of finding worms in my freshly-deposited compost. As luck would have it, my compost is full of squirming brandlings (tiger worms) so there is one happy robin!

Robins are extremely territorial with other robins but more than happy to live alongside humans. They seem to like gardeners and the feeling is mutual. The gardener provides freshly-dug soil bringing worms and invertebrates to the surface and the robin repays this with its delightful bird song and friendly demeanor. You can find a few more facts about robins here.


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