Glorious June Produce, Humanure, and a Hedgehog At Last

June means finally starting to eat some delicious produce from the garden, beginning as usual with broad beans and strawberries at the start of the month.Bowl of Strawberries

Broad beans fried with onions

Here’s some less conventional wonderful garden produce – excellent compost from my compost toilet.


Compost Toilet Compost

This glorious compost toilet compost or ‘humanure’ as it’s sometimes called was just the ticket for digging into the planting holes of my squash plants and courgette plants when I put them out at the allotment in early June.   It baffles me that as a society we waste most of our clean drinking water flushing away matter that could be used, when properly composted, to fertilize our farms and gardens.

Thanks to my newly-built heated plant bench in the greenhouse, my cherry tomatoes in the polytunnel were ready three weeks earlier than usual.  I normally hope to get my first ripe cherry tomatoes on the first of July, but this year I was enjoying them early in June.

Sungold cherry tomatoes ripe in early June

Using urine as a plant fertilizer

The cherry tomato bed had been fertilized in the autumn with some of last year’s compost toilet compost, and all my tomatoes get watered with urine as a fertilizer.   Why not!?   There are actually far more plant nutrients in urine than in dung.    Urine is another resource which we should stop wasting, and stop using half our clean drinking water to flush it away to sewage treatment works.  That’s just madness!    Urine can (OK, does) get smelly if kept in a container for more than a day, but I find that if it is watered into the soil every day, then there is no smell.    I’d recommend it for flower and vegetable beds, but not for containers standing on paving or concrete, as the excess liquid leaking out of the bottom of the containers could cause an unpleasant smell where there is no soil to naturally process it.   I normally dilute the urine with water before giving it to the plants, but I’ve never seen ill effects from adding undiluted human urine to the soil, which I occasionally do.   Another great use for human urine, especially in winter, is to add it to the compost heap.  There really is no excuse for flushing it all away.

And finally… a very welcome hedgehog

It’s at least ten years since I’ve seen a hedgehog in Stroud – they are very rare around here.  I’m so glad to say that since June a hedgehog has started visiting (or maybe even living in) my garden.

A hedgehog among the hollyhocks and foxgloves

I have a large pile of decaying prunings and branches at the end of the garden, which I’ve hoped would make a great habitat for many creatures, including hedgehogs.   So the hedgehog might be living in there… but I really don’t know yet.  I see him or her snuffling around the garden at dusk.  Fingers crossed that he/she survives, finds a mate and raises some babies.  It would be so lovely if Stroud hedgehogs manage to increase in numbers – and beneficial for us gardeners, as they eat slugs and snails.  Perhaps the recent ban on poisonous slug pellets will give them more of a chance.

Stop Press  – 7th July 2022

Baby hedgehog seen with parent in the garden yesterday evening!!!

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