Seed circle and garden pathways

19 Feb

Many gardening and smallholding website forums across the Internet have a seed circle. I am a regular contributing member of the www.overthegate.com forum, and I am also member of the seed circle on this forum. However, I am not a very good member of this seed circle because the first time the bag of seeds arrived with me, I forgot to post them on to the next recipient, and they sat on a shelf at our home for over three weeks before I was politely reminded to pass them on.
A seed circle is a wonderful and inexpensive thing to belong to. Basically a bag of various seeds is posted from one member to the next. When the bag arrives with you, you take what you want to plant in your garden, then you add seeds that you have not used from your stocks (providing they are still in date) and then post them on to the next recipient…. but please; If you do join a seed circle do not follow my very poor example, but post them on promptly to the next person on the list.
For us to grow Lois has selected the following from the seed circle bag; Cress, Hyssop, Chicory, Salsify, Mizuma oriental Lettuce, and French climbing Beans, and before posting the bag on to Lincolnshire we added: Dalmatian beans, Leeks, Onions, French marigolds, and Beetroot seeds (I forget which varieties).
We have a problem in our garden, which will become worse because of the 9sq/mtr project, and keeping chickens; it is something that I need to address and the sooner I do something about it, the better. The good thing about it is that it will consume some of the many metres of reclaimed pallet timber I currently have racked up in the garden.
During the spring of 2011, we had to lift half of the slabbed patio because a previous owner of our house had originally laid the slabs on bare earth. This required us to lift the existing slabs, dig out some footings and fill them with gravel & ballast so that the slabs could be re-laid level. Being a bit of a cheap skate when it comes to projects like this, and needing to address another problem in the garden we decided to combine the two projects. This secondary project was to remove a currently over grown gravel & ballast pathway from the edge of the patio that ran down the full length of the garden. This path was over grown with creeping weeds, would not sustain the growth of grass, and the lawn mower invariably flicked up stones from it when mowing the lawn.
The grand plan was to dig out this pathway and riddle the larger pieces of gravel and stone from it, and then use these for the footings for the patio. I acquired two stainless steel hand carried shopping baskets that previously belonged to a large retail chain….. No, I didn’t steal them but relocated them from a ditch on Mousehold Heath a mile or so down the road from where we live. We used these baskets to riddle the larger stones from the burden I dug out of the pathway, and it was then I hit on the idea of filling the trench with some of the woody Leylandii brash from the pile at the bottom of the garden. After back filling with the previously riddled soil, Lois and more frequently Oz and I trampled up and down this pathway all Summer, Autumn and Winter. Now in mid February I can see that we have compacted the soil and we are back at the shallow trench but water logged stage again. Fortunately we still have in the region of 8 to 10 tons of topsoil piled up in a heap at the bottom of the garden and so over the next couple of weeks I’ll be again filling this trench with another thin layer of well rotted Leylandii brash and a covering of topsoil. Before I reseed this with grass, I will be laying a lot of narrow pallet stringer off cuts to act as mini sleeper style steppings. With the chicken pen and compost heaps at the bottom of the garden this path will again receive a lot of traffic from us, and especially wheel barrow traffic this year. The pallet stringer timbers will only be a temporary measure that will be employed for 1 maybe 2 years as I seek an alternative, but hard wearing low cost solution.
The walk-in-run for the chicken coop was made during the early part of last summer, and we had the intention of populating it with 4 layers, and 4 meat producing birds, but events overcame us with an increase in orders for Cargo Cycles products, and involvement in a disastrous joint venture project.  A couple of minor wear & tear issues around the house resulted in us undertaking a part refurbishment of our bathroom and a full refurbishment of our kitchen.  So to cut a long story short about how I have come to have seething hatred of building trade contractors it is sufficient to say that Lois & I did not embark upon chicken keeping last year.
The walk-in-run is 90% complete as a flat pack ready to assembly unit, I only have to fix the wire mesh in place, obtain some fence posts, dig the holes and install the posts before final assembly of the run and then populate it with chickens.

Making the walk-in-run for the chickens from reclaimed pallet timbers: A complete S-B-S photo how to will follow in a few weeks time when I have erected it in position:


And how the walk-in-run has been stored in a self assembly flat pack form at the bottom of the garden all winter:

I bought the chicken coop as a house warming present for Lois when we moved here in August 2010, and it has remained vacant ever since. However, before we press it into use I am going to make a steel frame to stand the coop upon and lift it 18 inches off the ground. This will have the additional benefit of providing a few extra square feet of run area which will be covered by the coop itself and should provide a covered daytime perching and dust bathing area. Being well off the ground will hopefully dissuade rats, mice and other vermin from making homes in the pen.
I really do have a lot of work to be getting on with regarding this project, and to make matters worse for myself I have promised Lois that I will make a new corner table for raising plants on for our conservatory, along with a foldaway potting bench; time to get my skates on, elbows greased, and finger out methinks

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2 Responses to “Seed circle and garden pathways”

  1. Mo February 20, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    Aye, a Seed Circle is grand… if you post the seeds on 😉 I’m just miffed that I was before you and missed the Dalmatian Beans…

    • gowithgareth February 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      Mo,

      I have your address, and will ensure that Lois gives me a handful of Dalmation beans to post on to you: Look forward to envelope from me dropping through your letter box later this week.

      Gareth

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