Art of Proprietation

Friday, March 12, 2010

Melting out

We are well into the spring melt. Daytime temps are getting into the 50s and night time temps are in the 20s. We have melted out in areas that get good sun. Some years the shadowed areas might have snow until late May, but I don't think we will this year. It's been a light winter for us. We had warm temps into the middle of December and we are melting out in the begining of March. I like winter, really cold temps keep things dry and easy work. It's the in between times when the humidity comes up with the temperature and the mud thaws that feel uncomfortable. Humid air at 45 degrees feels a lot colder than dry air at 5 degrees. To me at least.

When the snow melts out, all the grass is layed down and with the foliage gone, it highlights all the short cuts we might have taken last fall. It's a good chance to find forgotten items before the rush of spring growth. It's easy for me to get motivated to clean things up after the winter low time.

I got the tractor out and turned the compost pile. I don't pay a lot of attenntion to the compost over the winter. But with the warmer temps, I wanted to get things moving along. Rollong the pile remixes the material with the compost organisms, airates it and moves the material that had been on th outside of the pile to the inside. This remixing puts the right pieces together for active decomposition back in the middle where it will have a chance to heat back up.

I have put a tarp over the north side of the pile. The north side doesn't get as much sun, the tarp will help keep it warm. It will also keep some of the spring rain off it. Rain will cool the pile and too much rain will slow down the decomp. Grabbing a handful of compost, I should be able to squeeze and see water glisten between my fingers. But water running when I squeeze signals too much water. Right now, I am most worried about too much water because it will cool the pile. As the spring warms up, I'll keep an eye on it. If the pile starts to get dry, I'll remove the tarp or make a double peak to form a V to catch and retain water in the pile. I did see some steam come off this pile, but most of the pile was pretty cool. I probably should have had the tarp on all winter. But I didn't have any tarps available earlier. But less than optimal decomp over the winter won't be that much of a problem. We won't need this compost until October or November, so there is plenty of time to bring it along.

Our other big pile that I started early last summer is pretty much ready now. It is well mixed and the bits have mostly broken down to unrecognizeable peices. The larger wood chips are the only thing still identifiable. When the market garden has dried out, we'll use this compost to build up the beds.

Another spring task is to deal with brush piles. We will probably burn the piles inside the market garden. The ones on the outside I am more like to take to my brush dump where I am letting it decompose on their own.

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