Two weekends ago, my scruffy, neglected, end of summer patch looked like this:
A few days of graft later, and we have two and a half raised beds. 🙂
The bed on the left is made of scaffold boards – some of which I was given by a friendly scaffolder, and the others I was fortunate enough to find buried under the weeds on my new allotment plot.
I Haven’t Spent a Penny (more by luck than judgement…)
The two other beds have been built using beautiful old sleepers that I’ve got from a couple who are downsizing. This sounds like the ultimate skip divers achievement, but sadly it’s nowhere near that cool. The couple is actually my mum and dad, so I’m not even sure I can claim this one, but thanks mum and dad even so. You’ve saved me a small fortune.
The downside of this is that I’ve had to move fast to get the sleepers out of mum and dad’s before the sale goes through. This has also been the case with the topsoil which I’ve filled the beds with. The house opposite me has been having work done to their driveway, and the builder let me nab some of the topsoil.
Of course, this left me working to another deadline, so the raised bed installation has been a tad arse about-face. I collected the boards and sleepers and barrowed the soil before clearing the weeds, and for a simple soul like me, this took some logical thinking.
However, with so much free stuff falling into my lap, I did consider buying a lottery ticket.
Visualising the Space
Once I’d weeded well, I rough dug before laying the boards and sleepers out to give an idea of how they’d fit into the space. Measuring is all well and good, but only once everything is where it is going to live do you get a true idea of the space you have to work within.
I went for 5ft wide beds in the end, which I can just about get across without having to step on the soil. Again, this is only something you really know when you’ve got the bed in place.
Although a fair quality, the topsoil is heavier than I thought now some rain has got to it. Once I’ve got plenty of leaf mould dig in, I’m hoping for a lighter feel.
The Hard Work is Nearly Over – For Now!
By the end of next weekend, I should have the third bed completed and the leaf mould dug in. All that’s left after that is to add a hefty topping of manure. I’m looking forward to finishing – as satisfying as the work has been, barrowing nearly 30 loads down the road and hulking heavy old sleepers around has been hard graft!
I’m already chuffed with the way everything looks much neater. I can now picture a nice bench in the back corner, overlooking my tidy, ordered patch, rather than the fun but slightly unruly plot I’ve tended to this summer. The unruly plot was a great company, but looking at the raggedness over my morning tea was beginning to get me down.
Once finished, my next job is to decide what I’m going to do for paths. I’d rather not let the grass grow back, and a suppressant membrane with chippings is something I’m considering.
However, I did catch myself counting how many lovely old bricks were laying around mum’s garden, An old brick path would look so very lovely…