Saturday, December 27, 2008

People in glass houses.

Today we emerged from our Yuletide bunker (well, we finally finished the washing up anyway) and began the next phase of 'reclaim the plot'. However, the frost was too hard to dig or prune anything, so it seemed a great opportunity to start on the greenhouse - 'A Big Joab, Jimmy', as they say around here. The double greenhouse had been taken over by the hens (sob) and was also the recipient of any junk we didn't have space for in the garage - there was even a tree growing in it, threatening to push off the roof panes! Seed trays full of dusty old compost, the unknown remnants of once hopeful seedlings, harvested garlic from 3 years ago still hung up to dry, hundreds of old compost bags and millions of plastic plant pots - all littered about as if a giant wooden spoon had stirred everything around.
We were accompanied by BJ, keen to try out his new gardening set given to him for Christmas. this comprised a sturdy canvas bag, gloves, and trowel and fork. Once out became apparent we would have to take turns about working or playing with BJ, so I started off clearing the inner end of the green house. This is the area where the seedlings and growing plants are kept, and the tomatoes planted out. It has a connecting door to the outer end, which is (in theory) the working end - potting up, sowing seed etc. It was full of old seed trays and pots of what might have been potential harvest, sadly left to rot and turn to dust. Half a dozen old grow bags, which had been planted up with various salad crops were still sitting on the staging. The dusty old compost from all these receptacles was collected in an old zinc bath and carted off to be added to the compost bin. All the pots were put in a large box, old drinks bottles that I used for either growbag water reservoirs or as eye protection on the ends of canes, were similarly collected up and stored. These will be washed later, and once the front end is cleared out I can implement a storage system for them.
My turn over, I headed indoors with BJ, who, I later discovered had filled his bag with old compost and fallen apples, when he tried to take it into his bath, to make tea for HG, whose job was to cut down this mystery tree. We though it was a spur from the lilac tree which grew just across the path, but without leaves it was too hard to tell. Task accomplished, he then went on with a couple of woodworking jobs he was doing.

All in all a good start was made, and I feel a plan coming on - oh yes! - it even includes plant pots graded and stored by size. Later, I went through last years seeds, which were stored in several plastic carriers, stuffed into one big carrier bag, stuffed down behind the craft drawers in the conservatory. I now have a new system. Two wooden filing drawers from Ikea, and a set of cardboard drawer dividers. Trouble is BJ has now appropriated them to store his toy car collection - now much enlarged by his Father's inability to resist the Woolworth's closing down sale. I have a surprising amount of viable seeds too, so I can now really, seriously, finally work out what I need for next year. Promise I will.

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