Friday, August 14, 2015

I can report that you can't hot compost with a load of tall nettle stalks. It's incredibly difficult to break them up with a hoe or a spade, as they take on the consistency of rope. The heap did warm up in the middle somewhat: about 25C when the Glasgow evening ambient temperature was around 15C. I turned it last night to find an ants' nest. I hope they move back in to their upturned home, because I suppose they'll likely help break it down. Anyway, I'm going to leave it be for now, maybe mix it with the horse shit when I get it - that should heat it up enough to kill the seeds. And I'm reluctant to burn good organic matter.

But speaking of burning, I have no choice with the mountain of old, rotten timber that's growing as a I collect it from the area that's been used to keep wood, broken glass and rubbish. I've come across a big sturdy plastic fish-box, and I put the broken glass in there, en route to the skip, which I think I've largely been responsible for filling. Once the council have been and emptied it, I've got numerous old doors, sheets of glass, and God knows how many more fish-boxes of broken glass to go in. And that's before I start emptying the old shed prior to dismantling and burning it.

I did briefly consider salvaging the old shed. But a brief survey the other night suggested it would be futile. It doesn't seem to have any kind of coherent framework, or any kind of coherence, actually. It's a collection of doors, both wooden and glass, panes of glass, sheets of aluminium, odd bits of wood, all apparently tacked together piecemeal over decades. I don't know what's been going on with the floor, which slopes from front to back at gradient of 1:3. I wonder if the original builder of the shed just built it on a slope, not giving a shit? Or has the ground washed away over the years?

The whole garden is bizarre in its topography. From the very top at the south end, to the very bottom, there's a very gentle gradient, maybe 1:40. But someone has put a terrace a two fifths of the way down, (to the right of the central plateau in the diagram):

That's (very roughly) how it would look in section, down the path, running south/north. The rise near the middle is where (I'm guessing) there once stood a greenhouse running east to west across almost the entire plot, (the central path only starts north of that). There are the remains of foundations and a path up the middle. My plan for the winter is to dig up those remains, salvaging what I can of the bricks to lay paths. And then get it all levelled out, so that there's a path running the whole length south to north down a very slight slope. Also, that section is down the middle. To the north east, i.e. the left hand of that section and stepping moving back, where the shed and the gate are, it drops down a couple of feet. And there are other mysterious mounds and depressions, especially on the north end. 

Or to put it another way, it's as if the greenhouse foundations are a kind of island in a landscape which has a sinking, hollow, hungry feel to it. I want it all nice and level, (it's an allotment, not a Capability Brown job), and fed, fed, fed with shit. But as I've said before, shit's another blogpost entirely.