Biofilter Harvest

By , February 22, 2012

We took advantage of our recent thaw to gather new biofilter for our compost. At this point it seems as if we already had enough to make it through the winter, but we have to assume we’ll see at least one more cold snap, possibly a few heavy snows, before the end of March or beginning of April. Either way, it never hurts to gather extra—we know we’ll need it eventually.

We gathered grain sacks, our sickle and machete, and backboards, and headed for a grassy beach south of us. Our path took us past “the swamp,” a muskeg bog from which our summer water flows. Just past it, Michelle spotted moose in the forest, a cow and her calf, and a calf on its own, which we guess may be shadowing the other pair. It may be an orphan, which would explain its solo visits to our garden recently.

harvesting biofilter

Michelle harvests beach grass for biofilter (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

The condition of the beach grass surprised me somewhat. In past years, that beach has remained covered by deep snow for months on end. When the snow melts, it reveals a complex system of tunnels dug by voles and other rodents. The grass, crushed by snow, tunneled and shredded by the rodents, ends up looking like packing material. As such, it’s prime biofilter.

Instead, the grass is flattened but whole. I assume this means it’s been a harsh winter for the rodents, a hopeful sign for those of us who wage war against them in our gardens all summer.

We pulled up hanks of grass and hacked them off with our blades, stuffing two grain sacks full before the cold south wind drove us off the beach. We’d gathered enough to overfill our bin, a 4-foot tall cylinder of hardware cloth. With the top covered by visquine, the wind will blow through the mesh and dry the grass nicely. Hopefully, it’ll become brittle enough to break up a bit before putting on top of the compost pile after we add new material to it.

That night snow began to fall again. We’d timed that task just right.

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy