It’s Monday again, so time for some cheering up. The good thing is that I’m easily cheered up. It only takes one or two little things. In particular, noticing the little things around the garden while my porridge is undergoing microwave-therapy is enough to get my week off to a good start.
But first, by way of housekeeping, I’m noticing that by reading a wide variety of garden blogs I’m loving all the ideas that come my way, so thank you all for sharing your garden world. Recently, I came across a lovely cycling blog where the author wriites a very short bit after the article along the lines of “Paraig is the author of Petals by Paraig”. He does this at the end of each post, but the interesting thing is that he then adds a sentence that links in with the post. This sentence changes for every post. I’m going to try it. If you like, just jump to the end, but don’t forget to return up here. As the weeks and months pass by it is very likely that I’ll have summarised myself so much that I’ll know everything there is to know about ME!
In recent months, I’ve begun collecting three unusual household items. Yes, many of us are collectors. We can be heard saying “Gosh, that would be great in the garden!”, or on the other side of the coin, “Don’t ask me why. It’s for the GARDEN!” In my case, the comments in my household have veered towards the latter.
Let me explain my little idiosyncrasy. We light a stove here from mid-October until April. We burn turf, timber and sometimes coal together with documents that need to disappear. I’m the ash cleaner and fire-manager. I had been disposing of this ash in the rubbish (ok, garbage) bin, but realised I was throwing out a valuable soil enricher. Subsequently, I’ve added two other ingredients to the mix: used tea-bags and eggshells. Ours is a big tea-house, and our egg-quota for any given week is almost a dozen. Now and then a small amount of other items are added as they come to hand, for example small twigs, dead-headed pansies and useless Crystal Palace FC match reports, shredded for effect. These items add texture to the fine fire dust.
On a daily basis, this mix is stored in a large container in the shed. Back in early November, as soon as I’d collected a decent amount of all three, I set to work, churning up this mix with used peat moss, and a small amount of sand/gravel. The result was amazing. November was a good time to do this because the vegetable patch was emptying, so I loosened the soil, added generous quantities of this household-waste mix and worked it in. Now, there’s another load ready.
I do have some questions, however, and perhaps it’s a bit late to ask. Has anyone tried this or something similar? Is there any disadvantage to doing this? Are there any other ingredients that might make the recipe better? I did think about the hygiene implications of storing eggshells but soon overcome any phobias by ensuring that they are reasonably clean (I love my boiled egg, and am thorough in getting out the last little bits) and then store them by crushing them gently before mixing with the previous day’s fire ash. If anyone has further light to shed on this strange activity, please share in comments.
Last autumn I had built some HOTELS for beneficial insects, and now this soil-enricher really is going to make a further big difference during the year ahead. Let the growing season begin!
Finally, I’m trying to come up with a name for this unusual mix. As yet, I’m at a loss, but there’s no rush. Any little hints from readers will be safely stored on the back-burner for later consideration.
For the record here are the ingredients;
- fire ash
- potting compost
- used compost
- other small bits and pieces as available, just to keep the original recipe fresh and ever-so-slightly-changing
About the author: Páraig is the author of Petals by Paraig. He is sometimes noted for unusual hoarding habits and recently has taken to collecting eggshells and teabags. Paraig is a lifelong Crystal Palace fan. Twitter and Instagram @petalsbyparaig