Yesterday was our town’s environment day during which residents could choose a free tree (we are having an Amelanchier arborea – Downy Serviceberry or Chokecherry – see http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=9), visit the kiosks set out by a number of environmental organisations and listen to interesting talks. One of those talks was my well honed presentation of wildlife gardening but it was followed by a session given by a colleague on the town environment committee about winter composting.
It was the winter part of that that attracted us, composting itself being something we have done for years. Turns out that given the right method you can have a compost heap working away at 50 degrees while the air temperature is more like -20. This is achieved either via an expensive Swedish device that we will probably get next spring (http://www.joracanada.ca/en/jk125.php) or by cunning use of leaves for insulation and tiny wood pellets. The theory of the system is explained in the link above but suffice it to say that my friend J was so enthused we rushed out yesterday to lay in a stock of wood pellets while I spent the morning raking up bags of leaves.
Then it was time to do some housekeeping around the garden which included cleaning leaves from the pond and erecting a critter-proof cage over the sunken pots of lilies that I half buried in the vegetable garden for overwintering. A good weekend all told.