Wednesday, 14 March 2012



Well, who'da thunk? The groundhog claimed we'd have another few weeks of winter yet, as did a couple of old English poems regarding sun on Candlemas, but it appears they were wrong, because spring has well and truly sprung. (Cue sudden freak snowstorm...)

I've been out in the garden, with my spade, turning the ground over and thinking about what I might or might not do with it. This is the first year the garden has been solely mine, and it's about twelve times larger than the tiny yard I failed to maintain in my old house! I have more time at home now than I did then, and two little helpers, so there is hope. But I think I'll start small, with the existing plants, and see how I go, before embarking on any major smallholding projects!

We have been contemplating the idea of having chickens next year. I very much want to in theory, but there are obstacles. The first is that before we can have chickens, we need fences, and fences are expensive! The close runner-up is that we have badgers, and they don't generally pay too much attention to fences. This can also prove expensive.

Anyway, for now, I have chosen a small and simple garden project: compost. Or so I thought. Who knew that composting was so complicated? I've spent hours researching it, only to discover that it all looks too much for me! I have bought a Green Cone for my food waste, but grass clippings and so on will still have to go on a conventional compost heap. That's OK though, my main aim was to keep my household waste bin as clean and empty as possible, especially as in our area they only collect it once a fortnight, and in the hotter months that leads to bad smells and maggots.

The Green Cone itself has provided much entertainment and little bin-relief so far. First there were the "self-tapping screws" which, according to the instructions, do not need a pre-drilled hole. Hm. Well, I put those screws next to the bit of firm plastic I wanted them to go through, and I waited, coaxed, threatened, begged... But they did not tap themselves in! So I had to call my husband, who brought his drill and solved the problem. Maybe husband-drilled holes are different from pre-drilled ones.

Then I had to find a spot in my garden which receives lots of sunlight, is accessible for emptying rubbish into, and which is not between two beautiful and very delicate rosebushes. Having possibly succeeded (why did I not measure the precise amount of sunlight throughout the garden on a grid system in December?) I started to dig. Oh my goodness, that was hard! Forty minutes, a couple of blisters, and a new-found respect for the men who used to dig the earth before they invented JCBs later, I had a hole of roughly the desired size. I tipped a bucket of water into it to make sure the drainage was sufficient. I stood and regarded my new pond. I visited my new pond several more times, before admitting I was going to have to break my back some more, dig deeper and improve the drainage situation with gravel.

Here is my temporary solution to the problem.