Little Effort

IMG_4039When talking about the compost heap yesterday, I omitted to say that the only effort involved was the actual emptying of the heap – no turning, watering, or adding activators for me. There are two bins of similar size, purpose made from timber to fit the space, which in turn was a purpose built brick surround, to all intents and purposes looking like an extension to the sheds. This is their second incarnation since the originals in about 2004, this time being lined with plastic to make them last longer. As there are two of them, one is used as the active heap whilst the other rests for a year before emptied, as it was yesterday, by which time the contents will have broken down into lovely friable compost without any effort other than throwing in peelings, egg shells and similar kitchen waste, as well as soft prunings, spent Monday vase contents and annual weeds. With very little grass, there is never much in the way of grass cuttings, whilst the addition of hay and chicken poo came to a temporary end in the summer when the last of our current batch of chickens died. This year I have been adding some ripped-up  cardboard as ‘brown’ organic material. Both bins are covered in pieces of carpet to keep them warm – and as each year brings a fresh batch of healthy compost I see no need to do anything different.

IMG_4040While I have been expending no effort in composting, the prepared hyacinth bulbs (above) which were placed in their vases in the autumn and kept in the dark have also been expending very little effort – and certainly don’t look as if they are going to successfully produce flowers which, I have to admit, they rarely do. Yet year after year I keep trying, adjusting the length of time they are kept in the dark for, keeping them cooler or warmer – but still rarely achieve a successful flower. I have removed the one on the right from the cupboard today as it has the first sign of a flower but both this and the leaves show signs of decay so I am not hopeful. It would take even less effort next year to admire the vintage hyacinths glasses as they are and grow hyacinths in pots instead……

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13 Responses to Little Effort

  1. mossfighter says:

    Like you I’ve never had much luck growing hyacinths in vases and do much better in pots and baskets, this year we had over 20 and their scent in the house delicious. They are lovely vases though!

  2. Anna says:

    The vases look fabulous Cathy but maybe the roots don’t like swimming 😦 I enjoyed reading about your compost heap. It was odd though as yesterday my blog reader was advising that you had made a new post but then it told me in the next breath that there were no new posts. Most peculiar! Have you ever tried broken egg shells as a slug barrier?

    • Cathy says:

      Yet growing them in water like this is a recognised way of cultivating them – Hopefully I will resist trying again and stick to pots in future. If your nose doesn’t permit indoor hyacinths you won’t have this dilemma! I think I have tried egg shells for slugs before but as I haven’t done it since then it clearly wasn’t effective…

  3. Christina says:

    I do remember you saying the same thing last year.. As you say just enjoy the very beautiful vases as vases!

  4. I also have not had much success with forcing hyacinths and they are my favorite, but I am determined to pot them up I think next year and try them again….perhaps we both might find success then Cathy.

    • Cathy says:

      And I HAVE had success growing them in pots with the children at school – there was a very cold stock cupboard that gave them a great start! 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    I really need to get some info on making compost out here in the desert, where there is so little moisture – and no earthworms… But at least it is a relief to see that you get good results without all the extra “technique” that always puts me off! BTW, I remember reading that cotton lint might be a good soil additive; maybe I should give it a try and report results!

    • Cathy says:

      And would it be too hot if you did ‘import’ earthworms (as they do for a wormery) and watered you heap? This just shows that we can can easily take our compost heaps for granted

  6. Cathy I am interested that you lined your compost bins with plastic, I have been thinking of doing that but from the point of view it might get the compost warmer, I do the same as you but my bins are made with pallets,
    regarding your bulbs, I have read many times that bulbs build up for next years flowers during the summer, when to us the gardener they appear dormant, infact the bulb is apparently working hard under ground, since digging up daffodils to divide clumps I have been surprised at the amount of root in summer when the top has gone, I have also heard that the nice chunky flowerheads we get on Hyacinths we buy are specially prepared and take time which is why they are usually dearer than other bulbs, I hope this helps, the vases are beautiful in their own right, I would have them on a window shelf where light can come through them, Frances

    • Cathy says:

      The last bins were from pallets but they have been in short supply here recently! The polythene is just stapled on, and easily done. I know that people do have success with hyacinths in the jars, which is probably why I have kept persisting – I always try blue and white ones and the blue ones are always slightly more successful, so perhaps some varieties just aren’t suitable for forcing this way. Hey ho – as you say, the vases are lovely as they are, possibly lovelier even!

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