Real Men Sow

Happy New Year and Festive Garden Clearance

Posted on by in somerset with 4 Comments

After just over a month at our new Somerset home, I got out in the garden in between Christmas and New Year and made some mess. I’d previously given a brief overview of my plans for garden clearance and veg patch creation, and joined by my ever industrious mum, we began by removing this humongous pampas grass (3 year old actual size).


After much initial head scratching and frowning, we set about the grass with a hedge cutter, pickaxe and rake and by lunch time we given it a serious haircut. The plant was soft in the middle, which made life much easier, and we packed up just before dusk with all but a small chunk of root left. It never ceases to amaze me how much two people can get done in a garden in just a day.


A number of tweeps had said that they’d set fire to out of control pampas grasses, but this one was quite rotten underneath the new growth and given the size, I was worried that it might burn forever (not the best way to endear yourselves to new neighbours…). Instead, we began by trimming right back with the hedgecutter and then hacking into the root with the pickaxe and using the tool to lever up loosened root clumps. I certainly got out of bed gingerly the following morning but oh, the satisfaction of achey muscles after a decent day in the garden, especially after days of sitting around scoffing rich food!


Having my allotment sidekick with me again was also a lovely feeling. Mum’s had a tough year, but decided to follow us to Somerset, and moved nearby the week before Christmas. Our time together on the allotment was always special, and it’s great to have her here for the next adventure. Welcome mum. :)

Day 2 was a solo affair, and I set about removing some of the overgrown trees and plants behind the pampas. This is where I’m planning to put my raised beds, but has been a dumping ground and forgotten space for previous inhabitants. I only got a couple of hours in, but the day was beautifully sunny, frosty and crisp and I cleared a few square feet. There is so much more to do that I’m wondering if having beds ready for this spring might be optimistic, but at least I can now see what I’ve got to do.

Time to talk to the neighbours and see if I can pop a skip on their driveway for a weekend…

Garden and Blog in 2017
The first few months of 2017 is going to a period of graft, so I’m not going to set myself any new year targets as I’m not sure how much I’ve bitten off right now! My loose plan is clear the area and build raised beds, but I reckon these won’t be finished until summer. That won’t stop me putting fruit bushes in, and if I’m smart with planning there’s a chance I could get some winter veg planted too. Small steps and all that.

Blog wise, I’m hoping to get back into more regular posting once we finally have Internet installed. I’ve also been working on an exciting side project over the past few months, which I’ll be able to talk more about soon. That’s nearing a conclusion, so with a little luck I’ll be back posting weekly once more.

As always, thanks for reading and a very Happy New Year to all. May all your soil be fertile and your harvests bountiful.


Sign up to receive a RMS weekly bite size summary, featuring all posts from the previous seven days, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.


  1. Jon JonesJanuary 3, 2017 at 1:31 pmReply

    Removing plants is so much faster than growng them! Even if that does result in a few aches and pains. Good start to the year Jono. I reckon you’ll have at least some of the raised beds in before the summer. Good luck! JJ

  2. Jon StapleJanuary 6, 2017 at 6:50 pmReply

    Good luck for the new year. Been put on to you blog via G.Y.O. and will be pleased to read it weekly when you’re up and running especially as it’s Somerset.

  3. AnonymousJanuary 7, 2017 at 8:24 pmReply

    Thanks Jono We are a team

    Thanks Jono We are a team

  4. Adam RawlinsonJanuary 12, 2017 at 9:22 amReply

    I am now chomping at the bit to get out in my garden this weekend and tidy it up. I can feel a need for some new tools to help the process along.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope.

However, three years on, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

Buy My Book on Amazon!


Sign Here for Updates!

Sign up to receive a regular RMS bite size summary, featuring all recent posts, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.

Allotment Cakes for the Weekend

  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #14 – Courgette, Lime and Coconut Cake
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #13 – Jamie Oliver’s Squash Muffins
  • An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #12 – Lemon Curd & Blueberry Loaf Cake
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #11 – Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #10 – Fresh Ginger and Apple Cake
  • Good Food Magazine Marrow and Pecan Cake
  • A Rhubarbey Roundup, and Whatever Happened to Allotment Cakes for the Weekend?
  • (Not) An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #7 Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream

Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


The Veggy Social

As Featured In…

Flickr Stream