Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!
I work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.
We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!
Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Grass, what a mess it is in and how to fix it (maybe)
Today we had a few hours where water did not fall from the sky so I went around and had a good look at the damage and water logging in the garden and wood.
The land is sodden, far too wet to do anything on or with it and where ever anyone has walked over the ground, footprint shaped holes rapidly fill with muddy water.
We have paving slabs to walk on alongside the poly tunnel to the hen runs, but areas of grass where we have had to walk even once are just liquid mud. One of the drawbacks of being on very heavy red clay!
There are areas in the garden where the grass looks suspiciously like it is dead - I suspect that some of the lawn, where the JCB has driven over and where the soil was still very compacted, will not recover from the damage.
and we have standing water on the grass, the soil, the flower beds are under water in places and there is even water standing on the surface of the raised beds - that is how waterlogged the soil is. The area around the old pool, where we are slowly filling in the large hole, is like something from a battlefield - churned up mud and subsoil with muddy pools of water.
I have been taking photos of the worst areas (I have odd hobbies!) with a view to re laying some of the paths around the garden and I have been thinking of replacing some of the damaged lawn areas. I was originally thinking about buying grass seed with a view to re seeding, but I have also now been looking into buying turf, as the small areas we turfed last year seem to have withstood the rainfall rather better than other parts of the lawn. I suspect that is because we dug over the soil underneath and so it is rather better aerated than the old area of lawn.
As I would have to dig and level the soil regardless of sowing seed or laying turf, I might go for the slightly easier option, especially as the cats and the chickens are less likely to destroy turf, rather than a nice seedbed! I can also grow and then plant out wild flower plug plants through holes in the turf into the soil beneath, which is an easier way to get a wildflower filled lawn more quickly.
If I do decide to buy turf rather than seed I am thinking of using Turf Express as the supplier. They deliver all over the UK and offer a hard wearing grass mix at a good price, with a minimum order of only 10 m2 and with next day delivery at no extra charge. The small minimum order is attractive, as I don't want to re do the whole garden, just certain selected areas ( although re doing the whole lot would be lovely, it just is not going to happen!)
I found an interesting and helpful guide to laying turf on the BBC Gardeners World. website. Has anyone else re turfed large areas of lawn? Any comments or experiences to recount? I would be interested in your experiences, if so.
Interestingly we often go to Hereford via Stoke Edith, where the B road cuts across the flood plain of the River Frome and there are very flat fields where turf is grown - it is a fascinating process to watch how it is cut, harvested (rolled up just like strips of carpet!) and taken away.