Sunday, 28 October 2012

Clearing the Plot - Part 3

So now we have two huge piles of "stuff" in the middle of the plot. What do we do with it?
Sieve it of course. I don't know how many tons of earth and associate vegetative matter we have, but one thing is clear, it's going to take weeks to get through it.
I managed to persuade the Other Half to come down to the plot today to help out. She's never done that before. It's only ever been me. But she was justifiably proud of the sieved pile she made. She did the sieving, I did the shovelling and carting away of the rubbish.
But there is still a long way to go.
It's about time we started on the getting the wood for the beds. But I have a nasty feeling that we will have to put down a plant root proof membrane to prevent the couch grass growing back in via the bits under the soil. We have taken off the topsoil, but there are still the odd roots showing through here and there. Guess I'll start Googling and see what other people suggest.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Clearing the Plot - Part 2

Well it's been a while since my last post. Holidays, illness and family issues have prevented me from being around at some weekends. Besides which there is only so much you can do with an overgrown plot.
Cue the "Beast".
Yes, this is the beast. The only way to clear an overgrown plot is with something big and meaty. This is a Kubota 1.5 ton mini-digger. I decided to take a day off work and get this sorted. I opted for a week day because it's cheaper than a weekend rate. So at 7am this morning I was on-site (it was still dark), and a few minutes later the delivery driver phoned me to say he was here. After a few minutes instruction on how to use the beast I was let loose.
Let me tell you, it really made short work of the overgrown bind weed, brambles and couch grass. My original idea was to keep some of the plants that were nestled in the corners and along the edges (some raspberry canes and rose hips) but buried in amongst them were bindweed, metal poles, wooden planks (rotten), bindweed, plastic plant pots, netting, bindweed, grass, old carpet and metal trellis. Did I mention the bindweed? So instead I just let rip. The apple trees, grape vine, artichoke and rhubarb were obviously spared but everything else was fair game.
The only problem with ripping up all this vegetation is that it has to be disposed of. Fortunately the allotment disposal bay is pretty close. But the only problem is sorting out the rubbish and getting it over there. So I borrowed the wheel barrow from my next door neighbours and put it to good use. Of course I didn't realise just how much stuff there was. Some of the grass that I pulled up was in huge thick big mats.
So after my 20th wheel barrow, my arms and legs were beginning to fall off.
The only drawback I found with the digger is that you can only pull stuff towards you. Although there is a blade on it (see above photo) it is way to small to be of any practical use. Certainly not with the amount of stuff I was pulling up. So I had to do some very creative dancing around the plot with the beast so that I could get it all ripped up.
But I eventually started making serious headway into the jungle growth.
So finally I have a semi-cleared plot. Semi-cleared because although the plot is "cleared", I now have two huge mounds of soil and plant matter that will have to be dealt with over the next few weeks. I will have to lay out the beds as I need them and then sieve the soil to remove the bind weed roots and get everything prepared. Of course this will also take some creative juggling because the place I want to put a couple of the beds is right where those piles are. Ah well.