Tuesday, April 24, 2012

All from nothing ... (part 12)

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

I was determined to complete the job of putting the chicken wire up before the weekend drew to a close. So on Sunday morning, despite ominous clouds covering the sky, I headed straight to the allotment after we finished breakfast. 

I got straight to the job at hand. As Clare had dug quite a bit of the trench on Saturday, it wasn't as difficult as it might have been. I soon had my routine going - roll the chicken wire out to the next post, ensure that it was fairly correctly "in place", from the bottom of the trench to the bull wire. I then cable-tied the chicken wire to the bull wire, clipped the excess off the cable ties (to make it look presentable), and finally back filled the earth in the trench. When I got to a post, I'd tack the chicken wire to it. This helped strengthen the wire and guaranteed it remained taut. Eventually, I had to dig more trench. I did this in two stages, more to keep variety to the job than for anything else. By lunchtime, I had almost finished the entire allotment. All that remained was tacking the chicken wire onto the fence adjacent to the gate. 
After getting some jobs done at home, I went back to the allotment, and finished off the chicken wire. The most awkward job was cutting off remaining chicken wire, as my wire cutters weren't up to much. That finally done, I had completed the enclosing of the allotment. Worrying about rabbits destroying crops is now (hopefully) a thing of the past. 
I'll admit I felt no small sense of satisfaction having finished the job. Not only is it practical, it lends the allotment a far more aesthetically pleasing look. 

The top corner of the allotment.

Yesterday (Monday) morning, Clare headed over soon after breakfast, and prepared more beds. When she had done this, she sowed carrot, parsnip and garlic into them. The beds for the carrots and parsnips took a little more work, as these vegetables hate stones in the soil (which split the roots when they hit them). 
After a couple of hours, she came home and I went over. However, the weather took a turn for the worse, and it started raining quite heavily. Not much I could do about that, so I went home for a cup of hot chocolate. 

I was in work on the night shift last night, so needed a few hours in bed this morning before going over to the allotment. A month's rain has been forecast in the next thirty-six hours, so we were anxious to get as much done as possible before this deluge began. As it turns out however, the weather gods smiled on us, and it turn out to be a fantastic evening.
Clare went over first to space out where we will plant asparagus, which needs a good amount of space. I looked after the kids, and went over when she got home. 
My job for today was to dig out the central, semi-permanent path that all our beds will be attached to. Maybe I'm just gone used to the manual labour, but I didn't find this job difficult, and had most of the path complete within an hour.  I then dug out another "mini" path between beds. 
Clare came over with the kids, and started preparing the double bed that the swedes and beetroot will most likely be planted in. Thomas brought a toy JCB digger and pottered about as we worked. Isabelle slept for most of her time there. 

One anecdote for remembering in the future: just before we were preparing to go home, Thomas was enjoying himself splashing in some puddles. Getting adventurous, he ran around the corner of a stable in search of deeper pools, which took him out of my line of vision. Suddenly a horse winnyed loudly, and gave Thomas such a scare that he rocketed around the corner and into my arms like a streak of lightening! 

At this point, the biggest jobs are behind us, and every half hour that we're able to put into the allotment will give visible results. 

The allotment as it looked this evening. 

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