Thursday, 19 March 2009

Donkey manure and yog pots.

"I need some potting compost" I said in a whingey voice, which is miles away from my usual chirpy voice. But I was UPSET. I have potted loads of yog-pots already with a mixture of donkey-dung and soil. It is heavy going. I have to keep picking out stones, twigs, straw, worms and other stuff including great chunks of not-quite-rotted-down donkey poo, and it takes AGES.

And I have a serious pining for a good old bag of potting compost: something I can plunge my hands into without fear of something not quite nice fetching up in the handful of stuff I am expecting a little seed to grow in. Something which will fit easily into the little yog-pot and fill it all up without leaving lumpy gaps.
I am yearning for a bag of potting compost.

So I made my request to Lester, which I thought was reasonable. Plus I added on a bit of female whinginess. No. It did not work. His face registered absolute astonishment that I should forsake his precious manure for shop-bought rubbish.

"Oh let me show you how you use it" he said. Oh so I can't get a shovel of manure myself? Apparently not. I was marched to the donkey manure pile.
"Look", he said "all you have to do is find a chunk which isn't wet. Here is a nice big piece. See! It's on the EDGE of the pile, NOT from the middle".

"All you do is crumble it up. Like this, see?"

"Then you are left with a nice pile of compost. You do not need compost from the shop, when you have this lovely stuff sitting here."

"Thankyou Lester", I said.

So I foraged for suitable lumps. Into the wheelbarrow they went. Gloves on. Hands in. Yuk. Either sticky or hard nuggets. Out to the front. Scooped up some soil from my recent dig. Mixed it in. Just like making a cake really. Back to potting table. Nope. Mixture still too lumpy. Despair oozes through me. Ahha! An idea. Into awning. Search for suitable instrument. Thwack. Down on those lumps I go with the sledge hammer (only a small one mind you) and down I go and more downs. The stuff is starting to look like the texture of pastry, although not of same hue. The sticky stuff starts sticking to the dry stuff.

It is done. I have in the barrow a pile of stuff which resembles what Lester had in his hand, what he had shown me as the appropriate mix for seed pots.
He passes by.
"See", he said, "I told you so. Easy isn't it. Better than that stuff you had".

"Yes,Lester", I said, "You were right".

Meanwhile my thoughts are racing away as to where I can hide a bag of potting compost, and would he realise that it was bought-in stuff, and how can I disguise it so it looks home-made....perhaps a sprinkling of little stones, twigs, an odd lump of two of donkey dung artfully arranged here and there on the surfaces, maybe a little bit of squashed worm...

A little bit of useful info about yog-pots:It is possible to hole twenty seven yog pots in the time it takes to boil a kettle! Yes it does! Here's how....

1) While heating holing appliance, in my case a screwdriver, on the gas ring (upper left) place eight yog pots upside down.
2) By the time you have arranged the last yog pot, the screwdriver will be hot enough to go jab, jab, jab, etc. in quick succession along the rows.
3) Screwdriver back on ring. Put yog pots away into a container of some sort. Put another lot of yog pots out ready for hole-making. By the time you have got them all ready, the screwdriver will be hot and ready to use.

Et voila! You 'ave your own pot-holing assembly-line operation!

And sending you a wave to say hi!