So, spring is really here and the layers we added to the raised beds have been rotting down. The two beds that the chickens scratched around in for a few months are really low in bulk so they’ll need to be finished off with some pretty good filler.

We’re trying two different approaches in each pair of beds. In the first pair, we have topped it off with bio-gro certified organic compost from Oldfields in Masterton. There was a bit of stuffing around with weigh-bridges and the cost was a little high, $40 for a medium trailer. This bed has actually been underway for a little while, and has been planted out with brassicas: cavalo nero, tender stems broccoli, golden ball turnip and our favourite purple sprouting broccoli. The bed is mulched with pea straw to keep it moist and give some frost protection.

In the other pair of beds, the ones the chickens were living in, we’ve filled them up with well-rotted mushroom compost from the parkvale mushroom factory just down the road. These guys make a business out of top-notch compost and it’s supposed to be good stuff. It’s cheaper too, $30 for a large trailer and no weighbridges or queueing, we were in and out in 2 minutes. If you don’t live in the Wairarapa, you can buy it in bags from the garden centres. Nothing is planted in these beds yet, but our friends have had great success with this stuff, it seemed very rich so I have a feeling this will be the better environment for our vegetables.