Saturday, November 07, 2015

Pond(ering) & The North East Bed

Out in the rain this afternoon. I only gave it up when my gardening gloves became soggy beyond endurance. One of my dad's words of wisdom regarding work on the allotment: Don't sicken yourself. And they are wise words. If it becomes a chore, put your tools away and go home or to the pub.

I think it's been raining most of the night. Anyway, the area I've dug out by the Old Greenhouse Foundations was filled with water. And that reminded me to measure it, about 3x3m. Into which I could fit a pond about 1m deep at the centre, and sides sloping up at an angle of 33° (ever so slightly steeper than the recommended 30° for a clay pond.

I had a good look at the levels today. The clay subsoil in that area is about a foot below the surface. But because this area is higher than the rest of the plot, the subsoil is only a few inches below the level of the surface for most of the rest of the garden. The fact that it's lower should also mean that a pond dug into the subsoil will act as a natural sump for all of the allotment's surface water.

So that's the Western side of the Old Greenhouse Foundations planned for. I don't yet know what to do about the Eastern side. I was thinking of a big pond right across, with a bridge, but that might be a wee bit ambitious just now. And I really need to extend the path one way or another, across this area - bit of an obstacle course with the barrow as it stands.

I realised I needed the path extended to get the barrow up and down the length of the allotment because I was at the northern/bottom end most of this afternoon, beginning to deal with the fruit bushes which are along the North Eastern boundary, and needing to fetch stuff up and down the length of the plot.  There are two rows of fruit bushes, kind of, a couple of feet apart. The plan is to in effect coppice them all.  The front row will be moved to other parts of the boundary. The back row, nearest the fence, will eventually form part of the hedge. They're several feet apart, so there's room there for hawthorns.

Theses bushes have had no TLC for years. God only know when they were last pruned. The job is proving more difficult than anticipated, because when I got up close and started sawing at the main trunks, I found that the bushes had grown into the fence. I should say fences. There's the remains of both an ash-paling fence, (the sort that were ubiquitous when I was a kid in the 60s - council houses had them, building sites had them, and, it seems, so did Glasgow allotments), and a chain link fence, plus various additions of posts and metal grids and other elements of allotment-improvised fencing.

I got about three yards along the boundary - it's about 12 yards altogether, so it's going to take a little while to get it finished. The cherry trees are half way along, and coppicing them is going to be a big-ish job.