Plotopia Progress – Week 5

The weather hasn’t been great this week, but I’ve considered it a blessing.  My ribs have been aching all week, which has left me unable to do a great deal of physical work.

Around 2 years I pulled my intercostal muscles, which I can tell you hurts – a lot!  Ever since, they’ve been rather ‘tender’.  I manage for the most part, but any hint of overdoing it and I’m out of action for at least a week.  The weeding and digging seems to have done it for me this time, and I still don’t quite feel able to resume. At least not with a fork.

I mentioned in my last post that I was looking at using a rotavator instead of digging, and I have now ordered one.  That is due to arrive tomorrow.  I’ve chosen a battery powered one, for a few reasons – firstly we have no mains power on site, so I was left with the choice of either petrol or battery.  Secondly, the battery-powered ones appear to be much lighter – which in my fragile state can only be a good thing.

The downsides of course are that they’re slightly less powerful – the one I’ve ordered only has a 7cm working depth, and the running time is restricted.  The soil was tilled by a tractor merely months ago anyway, so the depth isn’t a concern.  Spare batteries increase the running time, which for the model chosen are only £35.

I will post a review of the rotavator – good or bad – here for the benefit of others.

Allowing for an overnight charge of the battery when it arrives, I’m hoping to restart work on the plot on Wednesday. Fingers crossed the weather is on my side this week.

Planning the Layout

It hasn’t been a wasted week though, I’ve used my recovery time to do some planning. I’ve mapped out and planned the plot layout.  Large 3m x 1 beds can split into smaller beds as needed.  The plan features a ‘flower garden’ with lawn alongside the shed. A ‘fruit garden’ on the opposite end – with the greenhouse separating the two areas.  Directly in front of the greenhouse will be a small pond, which leads to the drainage ditch (which in turn leads to the large pond).  The Polytunnel is already in place at the opposite end of the plot, along with the compost bins.

Timber Pricing

Now that I’ve settled on the layout, I’ve begun pricing up the timber.  I’ll admit the cost came as something of a shock, perhaps a downside of having such a large plot.  Fortunately, using a local timber merchant rather than a chain DIY store reduced the price significantly. The big chain stores were more than triple the cost of the local merchant.  I’ve also reduced the size of the timber to reduce costs further.

I’ll only be raising the level by a few centimetres, but as the soil is workable at a decent depth here that’s not an issue.

You may ask “what’s the point, then?” and that would be a fair question.  The primary reason is tidiness and organisation – a clear definition of paths and beds.  It pains me, but I need ‘tidiness’ and clean lines. Without some form of edging, I find that difficult to achieve.

That’s all for this week, but hopefully next week I’ll have more real progress to share – fingers crossed!


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