Getting into shape.

4 days hard graft last weekend and another two this one has got my plot starting to look like it's on the way to being ready for planting.

During the week, I finally managed to get hold of the recycled barrel bloke after his mobile kept going to answerphone last weekend. As he's just up the road from my workplace, he very kindly dropped a couple off, which I then gave a good wash out at the local jet wash before bringing them back to the plot, along with yet more pallets.

Saturday lunchtime, I headed down to the plot to get them mounted and hooked up to the shed's guttering. They're 220 litre plastic barrels, brought over from Greece packed with olives, so stunk to high heaven when I first got them. After a good wash out, they still smell a bit, but should be clean enough for their intended purpose.

Their only down point is that they're quite heavily curved, so it's not possible to get a tap right into the bottom. The nett result of this is that the tap won't drain the last 40 or so litres. After a lot of thought, I decided to stick the tap into one barrel (I didn't really want one in each), then raise the second slightly. The curved base is just flat enough to get a link pipe into so I've linked from the bottom of the second barrel to a slightly higher point in the second. I'll add a tap within this link pipe so I can fill the first barrel, switch the link off, then leave the second to fill to the brim. The second barrel is then raised slightly so it drains completely. This should (hopefully) mean I can use most of the water in the second barrel, only losing the water below the tap in the first.

The pallet stand I've beefed up substantially by stripping the spacer blocks from another pallet, then nailing these in place to give a double braced pallet. This should hopefully now cope with the half tonne or so of water when they're full.

With the water butts in place, I used some more pallet timber to get a second bed sectioned off within the polytunnel ready for my tomatoes, which are developing nicely at home. Now I've dug the compost from a couple of grow bags into the bed, I hope to get the seedlings transplanted next weekend, but with more snow forecast for later this week, I may have to hold off for a while. Having been on the plot in a t-shirt today, I find it hard to believe we're in for snow, but the way the weather has been this winter, it wouldn't be altogether surprising.

I then set about digging the quarter of the plot which will be home to root veg this season and hoeing the brassica section to level it whilst keeping the ground firm. I keep wondering just lately why all of a sudden I've got bigger muscles developing on the left hand side of my chest, when I'm very right handed, so always invariably slight right side biased. Turning earth with a fork this afternoon, I suddenly realised my left arm was doing all the heavy lifting, which is clearly why this is the case. It's amazing just how much muscle you can develop in how little time gardening. Eating turkey every day at work for lunch probably helps too!

About 4 Sunday afternoon, the bloke on the neighbouring plot joked that I'd get dug up to the top of the slope by 8 - which is about when it gets dark now the clocks have gone forwards. I laughed and replied that I couldn't see it somehow. After he'd left, I pushed like crazy, through the pain barrier and beyond and finally reached the top. I'm well chuffed about this, as it means I can just hoe and rake over now before planting all my non brassica root crops - which is great, as I hope to grow enough beetroot to keep me going for lunch five days a week all year round. If I can grow enough, I should be able to stack loads in dry storage in the shed to carry me through the winter.

I reckon I'm now well on the way to my target of having most of the plot ready for planting by the end of next week's 4 day Bank Holiday weekend. That's assuming we don't see the snow being forecast during the week.

Even the compost heap's starting to look a bit less empty. I bought a pedal bin for work during the week and with aВ  compostable bag fitted, it's now collecting tea bags and food waste to add to the heap. I'm not a tea drinker, but plenty of people at work are, so the bin's going to get pretty full each week. I'm now even working on scavenging grass cuttings from my colleagues!


March 28, 2010 В· admin В· No Comments
Tags: ,  В· Posted in: Construction, General

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