Soil temperature was a heady 9oC at 12o'clock today. Now don't let that go to your head because it is still February and a lot of winter could still be infront of us.
I moved about 6 barrow loads of compost from the mega compost heap today. Lovely friable stuff that spread out really well on my allotment. Whenever you get a compost heap that has been neglected like this there is always the possibility that you will find that it has been inhabited by larger wildlife. Why is it that rat tunnels and nests are always so dry? And they are characteristic in that they always contain loads of shredded plastic bags and that is what this one had.
Now I had to make the decision whether or not to carry on taking the compost or to leave it due to safety thoughts. I had no worries about the rat attacking me because it was long gone before I even reached the rat tunnel. I was more worried about getting an infection from rat urine.
I had my gauntlet garden gloves on so infection from rat urine was unlikely. The compost was going to be spread on the soil where urease is one of the most common enzymes. Seems sensible because there is always some animal or other peeing about somewhere. So I was not really worried about the compost either. Finally, I decided to carry on regardless. This made me think about the contribution larger animals have to the composting process. Adding chewed up pieces of plastic bags does not seem to be that valuable to the composting process though. However, allowing oxygen to penetrate deep into the centre of a big heap like this must help in allowing aerobic decomposition.
There are some parts of gardening that are just plain boring both to do and to write about. Shifting compost is one of them. Eventually, I thought that I needed to do something else so I put up the poles for the climbing french beans.