Saturday, March 24, 2012

All from nothing... (part 8)

Our efforts to transform an unused piece of land into a productive vegetable garden.  

*** Please note that this entry is a re-edit of one I posted yesterday. For some reason, the contents of the entry got deleted, so here's the second attempt. ***

Yesterday, as I slumbered after a hard nights work, Clare and Peter were making themselves busy on the plot.

Clare raked all the manure we had unloaded on Wednesday over the soil. The amount we had transported over actually covered a fair bit of ground, far more than I would have anticipated. While she was busy doing that, Isabelle was sound asleep in her buggy. Thomas was engaged in a sort of toddler potholing experience, having discovered the hole we had dug yesterday.

Peter did Trojan work, finishing off the gate and then hanging it. To hang it, he had to cut through the wooden fence and then put another post in place to stabilise it. After positioning the post in the hole, he wedged it firmly in place with an old cavity block we had found discarded, and then filled the hole with earth and stone. Finally the soil was compacted, and the post was nailed into the fence.

After a while, Clare had to take the kids home for their lunch.
Peter stayed on at the allotment. Last time Peter had come to visit us, I had taken him to the same farm to collect apples at a large brambly apple tree that grows at the bottom of the farm. On the way there, I had pointed out a large pile of manure close by to the apple tree that had been dumped there many moons ago. Peter was curious to see the quality of this manure, so he borrowed a wheel barrow, and headed down to it (I'll point out here that it's a ten minute walk unencumbered). When he shoveled into it, what he discovered was the best, well rotted compost you could find - even surpassing the stuff that comes out of my own bin. He filled the barrow, and when he got back to the allotment, spread it over the soil.
I intend to get more of this compost for the allotment, I'll just need to figure out a more practical method of transporting it than barrowful by barrowful.

I'm by no means ignorant that when I cleared the area the plot sits on, I disturbed a delicate ecosystem that was used by thousands of insects. My only justification is that the soil will now be used productively, and that in time a new equally complex (if different) ecosystem will evolve. In any case it's gratifying to see that insects such as the friendly "ladybird" (Coccinellidae)  are still skulking about the allotment.

About this time, I arose from my sleep, and headed over to give Peter a hand. To begin with, I transported some of the sod from the second pile over to the "dump" site where we had left the sod on Wednesday. I then assisted Peter as we screwed a latch to the gate. Having done this, I feel that another milestone has been reached - a functional gate will make access to the site easier than having to duck under the fence. It's also aesthetically pleasing, lending the allotment a more polished look. I'll paint it next week so that it will blend in with the fence, and protect its wood.

Our gateway to homegrown vegetables.

Next, we began work on the compost bin. Again, I assisted Peter, but he did the lion's share of the work. While he was finishing it off, I set my sights on moving some of the grass I had piled up after strimming it. I filled a barrowful, and found that it had already begun to compost down, generating a fair amount of heat in the process. After removing this, I came back to find the compost bin finished.

I'll paint the compost bin along with the gate. My only reason for doing this is to make it as innocuous as possible. While at present, it's merely three pallets nailed together, it will suit our needs perfectly. In time, I intend to construct a really decent one (though I'll need to have Peter over visiting at the time, of course!). For the moment, it's grand. When I've gotten rid of the second pile of sod, it'll sit in the top corner of the allotment.

And that was that for the day. A lot of good work had been done - most of it not by me! On a serious note, I'll take this opportunity to thank Peter - you really did help us out.

The allotment as it looked on Friday evening.

1 comment:

mum said...

Poor Peter comes for a holiday and ends up working! You'll have to plan things better Peter,lol