Monday, 23 January 2012

Clearing the Jungle

When we found our house on the internet, we looked through the pictures and knew that there was work to be done - the odd splash of paint here and there, a few flower beds in the garden, that sort of thing. Then we viewed it. The house was much as we expected, but the garden not so much. The picture included in the estate agent brochure was of a relatively flat garden, nearly all grass with a cute little shed in the corner and some big fir trees at the back. In real life, the garden was twice as long as the picture showed (good news), it was on a pretty steep incline (bad news) and behind the not big, but MASSIVE trees was a jungle. I was excited and terrified by this space in equal measure. It held (and still does hold) a lot of possibilities, but this was more work than the bit of hedge trimming we'd anticipated. The only gardening either of us had really done before was maintaining a few grow bags on the patio. I was desperate to live the good life dream and grow my own fruit and veg but this seemed like a far off dream when I looked at the mess surrounding us. But we took on the house, warts and all and decided that the garden would be a job for the spring.

First, we cleared a lot of brambles and long grass and rubbish so we could actually reach the end of our garden. Then, bit by bit we cut all the branches from the fir trees - these were actually slap bang in the middle of the garden excluding light and space from everything so they had to go.

Then we annoyed our new neighbours by having lots of bonfires (we made sure they didn't have any washing out first!)

I saved the ash from the fire and I use it on my potato and strawberry beds (ash is good for these apparently).

Once we had cleared a large chunk of ground, I earmarked a bit mesuring roughly 5 metres by 4 metres and started digging. I dug every weekend for what seemed like months. I discovered that what we had was a weed infested, rocky and very windy patch - not ideal by anyone's standards but a neighbour told me that another neighbour used to cultivate the land and grew lots of veg on it and this was encouraging.

I  marked out a nice sunny spot where I wanted my greenhouse to go (My parents and brother chipped in for a big plastic one from wilkos) and began levelling and tamping the ground to make a good base. We used the bricks from old storage heaters that we ripped out in the house to line the edges and stop the earth slipping.

Once the greenhouse was up and running, my growing season could begin in earnest. I couldn't wait.

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