The target for this week was the strip of ground running up the left hand side of the plot from the gate to the trellis. It is an area approximately 10m x 2m and covered with brambles, ferns, grass, and other weeds. The google map shows the area marked in red.
Wednesday 9 February
I only had about 2 hours available for the plot today as I had promised to take my wife for lunch. So armed with shears, secateurs and a rake I made a start at the gate and front fence. I was very surprised how easily the brambles can away with the shears. The only issue I had was clearing away where the branches had tangled through the wire fencing.
In the process of raking away the cut brambles I noticed that the grass was just coming out of the ground with little effort. The only thing that was slowing the whole process down was removing the brambles, ferns, and grasses from the several layers of wire fencing. Something else to go onto the ‘to do’ list – sort the fencing.
I had been thinking from day one about what to use this side strip for and it was whilst taking a break that I realised that this would make a perfect area to build the new Pallet Composting area. The original plan had been to put it where the existing smaller compost area is at the side of the shed. But I was now thinking of using that space for a possible poly tunnel.
By the time I had to leave, I had cleared half of the planned area so was well happy. Next weather/work window was Saturday.
Saturday 12 February
Woke up to a cold and very windy day but determined to get some time in at the plot and finish the work on the side strip. Fortunately, the worse was done on Wednesday so it should be quicker and easier today.
Within an hour the final part was cleared back and raked up so the rest of the time was spent starting to dig up the bramble roots across the site. I am fortunate that the soil here is very good and light so the root balls lift relatively easily with the aid of a spade.
I had considered lighting the fire again, but the wind was too high and I did not want to risk sparks spreading especially as we have wood and a nature reserve on two sides (both downwind!). So, the pile of branches and weeds continues to grow.
Whilst clearing away the side strip I noticed a dull sound when my rake landed on the strip which forms the main footpath through the plot. On closer examination, I discovered that there was a piece of carpet covered with soil and grass. This was pulled away to reveal a bare strip of soil which is the path. On the second visit I uncovered further carpet and there appears to be a lot more to lift.
Now the Tenancy Agreements clearly states that ” The Tenant must not use synthetic carpets or carpets with rubber underlay on the plot as they can leach chemicals and pollute the soil”. Fortunately, on a closer examination, the carpet is wool on a hessian backing so chemical free. However, I still have to consider its disposal.
One thought is to use it as part of the covering for my pallet compost bins. The top of the compost will be covered with cardboard, then plastic to keep it dry. I could then lay the carpet over the top to keep it warm. Just a thought!
So, that completes the work for week 3 other than to mention I took the fork to one of the old beds that I am going to use this year. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the soil was in very good condition and was easy to turn over. The only thing I must do is get a proper sized fork rather than the narrow border fork I brought from home!