Today while I was in the polytunnel having a tidy up, I became aware of some strange noises coming from outside. It sounded like pigs scoffing their way through a pile of apples and bananas. I wondered if Adrian had got me an early birthday present. There were snuffles and grunts interspersed by a strange high pitched creak. I stuck my head out to investigate, the noises seemed to be coming from the direction of the veggie patch. There was also a sheepie-smell drifting around which I couldn’t quite place but seemed familiar.
Looking over at the veggie patch I spotted a huge wheelbarrow filled to the brim with manure trundling down the path going “creak, creak, creak”. Behind the barrow emerged Adrian going “grunt, ah, ooh, aaa”. Atop the barrow like a cherry on a cake was a pitch fork.
Then I remembered, this week is mulching week!
Mulching week entails something we do regularly here, shifting dung from one place to another. In the case of mulching, this means shovelling well rotted sheep dung from the manure heap, over to the veggie beds. This is done using a pitchfork, a large wheelbarrow, muscle power and lots of huffing and puffing.
Our veggies love a good mulching, the soil has improved a million-fold since we started piling on the dung every autumn. When we created our veggie patch five years ago, the soil was in a terrible state, all claggy and compacted. We think there might have been a structure at some point in the history of the farm, where the veggie patch now is because the soil was so compacted and there was a ridiculous amount of rocks just below the surface. Mind you, that is normal around here!
Fast forward five years and the soil is crumbly and lovely to work with. The veggies are happy and thriving, and so are the slugs, but that is another story for another day.