Sunday, September 10, 2017

riddling glass and spreading mulch II

The SE quarter consisted of the site of a defunct shed, a midden, and the base of an old greenhouse. There's a patch maybe 9sq yards which may once have been cultivated but was weeds when I took over, and I used it to keep flammable rubbish pending bonfires - and it saw several of them.

The former shed's site has now been riddled down to a depth of 1ft, and boy did it need it. I suspect the shed was there because the ground beneath was more slag or clinker than it was earth. It took me all of this year's growing season, but it's done: all good topsoil, albeit without structure, for the time being.

That area makes up about a quarter of that SW quarter. I planned to riddle it all, but that would involve struggling on through the winter, and giving up all of next year too, and maybe not being finished by end of 2018, for goodness' sakes. And the more I read and thought about the soil and permaculture, the more unnecessary and even barmy this toil began to seem.

The soil must be in pretty good condition in the area where I had all those bonfires: the borage was fantastic: what I took to be a patch of volunteers, (grandaughters of the first plants I sowed in the plot back in 2015, just for the sake of planting something,) were in fact just two plants, with stalks 3-4ft long and 2-3ins thick at the base.

The borage and the poppies, and other plants I can't name, were chopped down, and bags of hedge trimmings and florists off-cuts spread on top. So now, there's a layer of decomposing plants 3-4 ins thick. Remember, the primary reason for all of this riddling is to get rid of glass in the interests of the dogs and their poor wee paws.

But any shards of glass near or on the surface are lying flat, and covered in that layer of mulch. The dogs could run around on it quite safely.  I'm pretty sure they both got injured in the past playing tug-o'-war with a bit of hosepipe or rope, which involved them digging down with their paws in the loose, glass infested earth as they tried to get traction; that issue can be solved by leaving around nothing they can use for tug-o'war.

The other danger area would be the site of the shed, now a thick layer of clinker, bricks and glass - actually, I noticed, at about the right height at last...

Oh blimey! It all came together as I walked home yesterday. Just start building the shed, and that's covered, and the dogs can come back. I fill in the "bastard" trench with the riddled earth, and put it back on the road to structure with oomska and field beans.

The rest of the bed I can riddle a yard at a time, clearing away the mulch, hoeing 3-4ins deep, raking and riddling it. The really nasty-glass area is along the fence, and I can dig that out a yard or two at a time as I plant the gorse there during the winter.

And that's it... Once I get the shed base moved into position, (easier said than done, on my own, it's bloody big and heavy), the dogs can come back; dog-walking and allotmenteering are one and the same task. Build and paint the shed, (with adaptions to make it into a potting shed); put-up the polytunnel. This winter I can start to buy seeds, at last. Boom!