Hugh - looking pristine, despite the hard work!
At the moment the site is a bit of a mess because Jake's team is preparing the area for the new, super-duper polytunnel. It will be much bigger than the old one, so it keeps its heat better, and it will have roll-up sides to improve ventilation in the Summer. The amount of rubble and other rubbish in the ground is making it heavy work, but on the plus side, we've got enough bricks out of it to build a barbeque (maybe even a new shed, come to that!). I'd like the guys to dig me a 1m cubed hole to fill with rubble to make a heat-store in the polytunnel. Jake thinks my idea is over-ambitious given the site conditions (not quite how he put it!). We'll see how it pans out after they get the initial dig-over finished. The team have managed to get a lot done - taking down the willows that were shading the beds, (so we can have coppiced willow next year), creating dead-hedges with the smaller branches and stacking the larger wood so we can use it in our clay oven once that's built. They've also dug-over all the new beds to get the roots out - no mean feat as many of the roots were growing through plastic that had been used in a failed attempt at mulching sometime in the past.
Matt battles with a Himalayan Giant Blackberry...
Helen plants the jasmine
The Thursday group concentrated on doing planting - putting in blackberries (var. Himalaya), goji berries, a tayberry, a jasmine and 2 honeysuckles. These should all grow through the dead-hedges on the site or the fence, to give us a fruiting and scented boundary. After that, we started to sort out the piles of materials that have been stacked by the gate. I'm hoping that we can avoid having a skip as the pile has got quite a bit of usable stuff in it. Ellis did sterling work rooting out all the useful bricks that were hiding there, and Wayne and Matt worked out a great way of sifting weed roots out of some of the dumped soil (we then discovered that Jakes group had had the same brainwave - clearly great minds think alike! ) - see below for what they did... We also covered some of the raised beds, to help heat up the soil for some early planting. It's exciting to think of getting planting in soon. I've ordered a nice warm February. We'll see if it turns up!
Ellis tracking down all the stray bricks on site
Wayne and Matt work out that a bread-basket is a perfect garden sieve!