Carrying on from the last post, by about midday on the Sunday (20th Nov), I’d de-weeded and to a certain extent de-rubbled the soon-to-be-vegetable patch. At this point I rang my Dad to ask for some advice, as he recently created his own vegetable patch. The advice was this:
Now you want to dig down about 2 spade’s depths and fill it with loads of compost.
Sound advice and all that, but I did look at my neatly levelled patch of earth and cry a little inside. Nevermind! If that’s what needs to be done, then so be it. Let the trench digging commence!
By sundown of Sunday, I’d dug out an area the width and length of the dug area of the photo above (so about 2/3 of the weeded patch) and about 1.25 spade’s depths. I’d also found even more rubble, along with a steel coathanger, a 10mm/13mm combination spanner and a silver spoon. Not quite time team, but better than nowt. The photo of this stage was far too blurry (my camera refused to focus in the dim twilight) so here’s a photo of the excavated spoil:
I was quite proud of my trench. I thought it was really good going for about three hours solid toil. Fast forward to the next weekend, and my Dad and my Uncle Stephen dropped by on their way to the football, delivering 6 tubtrugs as my Christmas present from Mum. Were they impressed by my efforts? Hah.
Yep, good start, but you need to be at least another spade’s depth down before you do anything else. Also, I thought it’d be bigger than that.
Yeah, that’s what she said. Ahem. Anyway, my good friends Phil and Andy S were helping myself and Rob out that day, and Phil kindly said he’d have a go at finding Australia via the bottom of my trench. Andy went off to help Rob patch the ceiling hole (more on that another time). By the end of Sunday, the trench was now the regulatory 2 spades deep and half again as wide.
Note that by this time I still hadn’t managed to plant anything (still haven’t planted most of it :( ). I originally reckoned I’d have this whole thing finished in one weekend, and now two had passed. So, another week rolled by. The next weekend was a long one as I needed to use up some leave, and my Dad visited again on Friday, this time as helper rather than to pass witty comment on my feeble efforts. First thing, fill the hole Phil and I had spent so much time creating in the first place. Makes you wonder why we bothered. ;)
In went compost, random garden waste (old hedge clippings, fallen leaves and suchlike), shredded cardboard and leaf ash from my Dad’s incinerator, to add nutrients and improve moisture retention. Much forking and mixing through ensued.
Hi Dad! Also, remember the compost pile? It is no longer.
In went some of the original soil from the spoil heap (now nicely de-rubbled) and 300 litres of multipurpose compost. More forking and mixing. Then, a quick bit of work with the rake and you have this:
Finally! One new vegetable patch! Woohoo! Still nothing planted though. I had bought Rob a Timperley Early rhubarb plant about 5 weeks ago (when the confidance that I’d get all this done in a weekend was brimming) so we decided to plant that in the far corner. There we discovered the last remaining piece of concrete path in the garden, which was swiftly removed with a large crowbar and a pickaxe. Fortunately the concrete was about 80 years old and very soft, so was a much easier task than it could’ve been. Double woohoo! 1 plant finally in the soil! Only several hundred left to go! I say several hundred, this does include the last remaining bulbs and 50 onion sets. Anyway, all that’s left to do now is tidy up:
The six tubtrugs from my Mum put to good use. In total, we filled 9 with rubble from the trench, and from the one remaining bit of concrete path. I love these bright buckets so much, you can throw pretty much any sort of rubble in them without fear of breaking them (guess what happened to my previous garden buckets).
The next step is to wait over winter for all the stuff in the trench to settle and rot down some, then next year I can start growing vegetables in it! :D