Work on the shack continues apace. On Saturday afternoon (9 March 2019) Mick helped us by driving to B&Q to buy the plywood. We had it cut in the store, which is a fantastic service, but otherwise the shop was a big disappointment. No paving slabs, not a great selection of plants, pretty poor selection of tools…. We need a new narrow-tined garden fork, but the ones at B&Q were huge, heavy and just too big in all respects. But I did find some square cut garden timber posts with pointed ends – so we picked up 6 of those.
Super-G built the sub-frame (supported below by the re-claimed scaffold piping & fittings). And now we have the plywood to cover it and create the floor of our shack. It was hell bringing the board to the actual plot as the allotment path is too narrow for the trolley to bring them up. All carried in by hand – laboriously! Moral of the story? No more plywood! Planks only – easier to handle. It was getting dark by the time we headed home, so decided to indulge in buying Chinese food for dinner. We were exhausted and it was definitely a great idea!
We went up Sunday. It had rained all night. A slow steady drizzle but lots of wind and plenty of twigs and branches on the ground in the morning. The earth at the allotment has returned to it’s natural state of extremely heavy clay. The woodchip we put down has been sucked into the slime and the whole plot is now super-mucky and slippery to walk around. Feet get heavy with clods of thick clay stuck to the sides and soles of shoes. Definitely need to do something about the paths! I know we will have the bales of hay from the Oak Village street party once again this year, but that’s not until the end of June and simply isn’t soon enough!
While the super dude was working steadily on the shack, I got busy with our latest experiment – stem cuttings of the Damask rose.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to propagate the gorgeous heady-scented damask rose and have it planted as a line along the fence!
Cuttings were taken and then trimmed of thorns and leaves at the bottom. The ends of the cutting were dipped into rooting hormone powder, and then set into small pots filled half and half with compost and rough sand.
The pots with cuttings were sunken into a larger tray (this one doesn’t have any drainage holes so will collect water from rain and remain moist). I then covered two of the three pots with plastic cloches (large water bottles with the bottoms cut out). Fingers crossed they set, but I know from previous experience that stem cuttings can be hit and miss. This is the kind of thing that cries out for a cold frame or greenhouse! But nevermind – these cuttings have two chances – to live or die. Hopefully they live!
Three of the six pointed-ended wood stakes were installed at the top level by the blackberry. I’ll get some thick garden twine and string between the stakes and also tie in the blackberry so that they don’t overhang too much on the bed below. The super dude wants a privacy barrier, and the plan is for these delicious high-yielding blackberry bushes to grow tall and high and bountifully. It started to rain so we headed out before I had a chance to do any of the stringing or tying up but at least it’s all ready to go for the next time we visit.