Saturday, 17 March 2012


So, here it is, the raw material. About 8m x 3m, covered in couch grass and weeds, two apple trees and on a slope both sideways and downwards. A mess. It was worse last year though! There was a huge mass of ivy in that corner next to the greenhouse, swamping the greenhouse and extending all the  the way to the first tree. At least that's gone.

So first job was to get rid of some of the couch grass.

I started marking out some of the beds as I worked. Why? Well, digging out a slope means leveling off the paths and you've got to know exactly where to chuck the dug out soil. I also knew from the very start I was going to have to put in raised beds, as the soil is very poor. It's sandy and light, very nutrient deficient. I'm going to have to add a lot of extra organic matter to make it fertile and water retentive. And there's also that slope to contend with. So the general plan is a series of raised beds seperated by paths, in a set of terraced layers. It took me about two weeks to get to the above point and to get the general shape of things to come into my head. After much messing around with a tape measure I eventually decided the beds were going to be about 80-90cm wide. The beds on the allotment are 120cm wide and I can't quite reach across one from a kneeling position and I wanted the garden beds to be fully accessible from just one side, to save me walking round and back so much while working them.

I also decided to bite the bullet and use slabs for the paths. I already had some 40cm wide slabs, wide enough for paths wide enough to walk down and kneel on. It's normally recommended that paths should be 60cm wide so you can wheel a barrow along them but that just isn't going to happen here, so 40cm is quite enough.
Over the course of the following few days I got very bored digging out couch grass and fiddling around with a spirit level and slabs....

Told you it was boring, didn't I? Be grateful it was so driech yesterday and this evening that I couldn't take any more pictures. But I have made progress, honestly.
Update tomorrow!

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