Lockdown Project

A bit of a different post from me today.

The lockdown in the UK came within a couple of weeks of me moving from West Sussex to Somerset. (Editor note: Oh really, CKPonderings? I hadn’t realised you’d moved, given all of the Glastonbury photos you’ve posted of late!)

There was plenty to do on the house, but the restrictions put in place by the UK government meant that we were unable to get anything started as quickly as we would have liked.

Back in West Sussex, with us both working full time, we were not able to spend as much time on the garden as I would have liked, and one of my missions for the move (and the eventual change to part-time work) was to enjoy and make the most of the new patch of land.

Glastonbury is known for its Bohemian, back to nature lifestyle, and I had in mind that I wanted to have a go at growing some vegetables and fruit, but the lockdown gave me the opportunity to speed that process up a little.

The back garden has a strip of decking across it which, even when we came to view the house, we knew had seen better days. It would need replacing or landscaping at some point, and my “Good Life” plans provided an ideal opportunity for that.

So, armed with nothing more than an idea floating around in my head, I decided that a section of decking could come up, and compost could go down and a veggie patch would be born!

Take into account, however, that I am not necessarily used to building projects, and the small tinkerings that I have attempted up to now haven’t always ended in glorious success.

The positive for this was that, whatever the outcome, the decking would ultimately have to go anyway, and, if push came to shove and the vegetables came to nothing, I would have a nice new flower bed to fill!

The decking proved to be a harder foe than I had anticipated…

As I mentioned, it had seen better days and, quite frankly, it was quicker to count the planks that were not rotten than the ones that were. However, it put up a valiant fight.

Surprisingly, it was the crumbling piece of wood that proved harder to lift than the solid ones, but, at the end of my first day of heaving, shoving, swearing and sweating, I had managed to clear around half of the 7ft x 8ft section I was planning on.

One of the things that the lockdown has taught me is to pace myself, rather than going hell for leather, trying to get everything accomplished in the quickest possible time. So, after a day off, I got back out to the project.

This time, it seemed quicker to achieve what I wanted to; the remaining planks came up a lot easier to lift, and soon I was down to the bare joists.

Mother Nature had taken its toll on the wood, and the first joists crumbled at the merest hint of a saw. Time had been ticking on, however, and I left it there for the second day’s work.

Day Three of the project and I was definitely into the swing of things by now. I had a plan: there were three joists to cut and a number of battens to remove, and if I was able to do that, I would be happy!

Again, however, six cuts with my saw and a bit of brute force meant that the decking was no more!

I had kept a number of the planks – as much as anything, the more solid ones would allow me to replace some of others that had rotted – and used five of them to edge the hole I had created. They would be no good for standing on, but they made it look a lot tidier!

God Bless Click & Collect!

A week or so ago I had ordered some compost from my local B&Q. (Well, I say ‘some’, it turned out to be nearly 1200 litres of the stuff!)

As much as anything, getting this from the shop before I started any work gave me the incentive to get going – it would be a complete waste of money buying all of that compost without then making use of it.

So, decking lifted, compost ready, the last stage of the project was in sight!

Filling the hole began, then! After the first few bags, I admit I did panic a little about whether I had, in fact, purchased enough of the black stuff, but I needn’t have worried. It turned out to be almost the perfect amount!

So, the vegetable patch is ready, and there remains only the small matter of putting some actual plants in it.

Again, with the lockdown, there are no physical shops open, but online stores are there, and I have placed an order, which should be with me at the beginning of May!

As I have already suggested, I have never undertaken this sort of project before; I am not a manual person, and, while I am not afraid of hard work, I do have a tendency to get bored easily and give up if things aren’t going the way I want them to.

I am personally impressed, therefore, at how it has turned out; it’s not perfect, but it will suit its purpose for the first year, anyway. Who knows, this could be the start of big things to come!

More, I am sure, to follow!

Another quick reminder about the May’s Mass Observation Project, then!

Take a photograph based that sums up the theme COLOUR to you, however you want to interpret it.

  • Email the image to adayinphotographs@outlook.com by Thursday 30th April 2020.
  • Images should be a maximum of 650 pixels wide.
  • Include your name, website/blog address and a short note about the image, including where it was taken.
  • Come back and see the results on Sunday 3rd May!

8 thoughts on “Lockdown Project”

  1. Great blog post! I enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures. The final garden space you have created looks great and finished nicely with a bit of decking at the front edge. What is the blue thing sitting on that edge?
    Have you thought about local garden centres? In Sheffield they are not open but I know of at least one that is delivering locally. Might be worth a try, particularly when small businesses need all the help they can get right now πŸ™‚
    Take care and stay safe
    Best wishes
    Mr C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks! πŸ™‚
      It’s a lot of make do and mend, to be honest. The garden centres down here are closed, the likes of B&Q’s click and collect (understandably) doesn’t class plants as essential, and the supermarkets have very little in stock.
      I have found a couple of places online, however, where I have placed a couple of orders, and the deliveries are starting to come through.
      As for the blue thing – it’s a sonic cat scarer (we don’t have many around, but I would prefer the locals not to look at the new patch as too good an opportunity to miss before I get planting!!)
      Best wishes,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes make do and mend can work out better than had we adhered to a more elaborate master plan and in this case your make do and mend has worked out nicely.
        My next question is does the sonic cat scarer work? Have you used it at your previous address with any success? I know someone who would love to find a device that works…
        Mr C

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The plan (or lack of it) has worked so far, but I’ll see for sure once the plants have arrived!
        As for the cat scarer, yes, it worked where we lived before, and seems to be doing the same here (although we have fewer cats around here).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks pretty good to me! We had aspirations for our backyard in Brighton, but we gave up on growing veggies after a couple of years because they kept getting ravaged by aphids. I didn’t really want to have to resort to pesticides!

    Liked by 1 person

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