The Idiot Gardener

WARNING: This site contains information on gardening, brewing, curing meat,

building shit and hunting, all done in a piss-poor manner. It is not suitable for the

feeble-minded, the weak and lame, those of a nervous disposition, vegans and

vegetarians (and those other ones that only eat fish and the occasional bacon

sandwich - I think they're called 'hypocrites'), those who practice any

manner of folk singing or dancing, people named Colin or fans of Barry Gibb.

Trench warfare!

Sadly my weekend has been eroded by having to travel to a work thing on the other side of the world on Sunday, but Saturday lay before me like a sunny but freezing cold invitation. What else could I do; I leaped right in.

Previously I have mentioned my need for a beanage area, and my initial thought was to create this at the end of the lane leading to Dogleg Junction. I stuck with that initial thought, only because I have since had no others on the subject. Only time will tell if it was the right move.

Stage 1 involved digging a trench. I used a fork and a spade. Oh, and a wheelbarrow. I only fell in my hole three times, and a smacked myself on the shins several times. I also cut my hand when I discovered that the idiot I bought the house from had a penchant for burying broken glass. Yes, it seems that this house has been owned by two idiots, and evidence suggests that I am not the more idiotic of the two.

Stage 2 involved building a low frame to hold the soil level above that of the ground. I am unsure whether this is a temporary or permanent beanage area, so the surrounding area will remain as a mess until I decide.

That’s as far as I got. When I’m away, Mrs IG tends to eat ready-meals. I believe the poor woman has suffered enough without that indignity, so I decided that I’d leave Stages 3, 4 and 5 until I return, preferring to spend the remainder of the day preparing something decent for her dinners whilst I am abroad.

If you’re interested, Stage 3 is to line the trench with newspaper and give it a good soaking, and to line the outer edges with a weed-resistant fabric. I bought one with a copper coating that allegedly keeps the slugs at bay. Only time will tell if it works. Stage 4 is to fill the trench with manure, compost and a top coating of soil.

Wait, I hear you cry. What about Stage 5? Well, that is to pass the pile of soil through the riddle, ensuring it is stone-free and rootless, before placing it into the raised beds.

I had no idea that something as small as a bean trench (it’s 3.6 x 0.8 x 0.8 metres, that’s all) could create such a mound of soil. Where the hell does it all come from? Now, where are those people who laughed at me when I built such deep beds? Where are they now? I’ll bet they’re scratching around for a bit of soil, while I wallow in the stuff!

Bloody hell, Spring is acoming and I’m still filling those beds up. I can see a few weekends of hard labour ahead!

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12 thoughts on “Trench warfare!

  1. Edith Hope

    Dear IG, Such progress! And how scientific it appears to be. Of far greater concern and, dare I say, of interest is the question of Mrs. IG’s lunches and dinners whilst you are away.

    May I make a suggestion? Waitrose do a very good lamb shank [assuming she eats meat] all ready to pop into a warm oven although if she is able to get up to town, then I thoroughly recommend Selfridges Food Hall. There she can buy ANYTHING and already prepared. She will have a meal in moments.

    As for the dwarves, I can hear them in the background singing, “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work you go!”. Bon voyage!

  2. Kyna

    I think your previous Idiot-dweller also lived on my property at one time. I’ve dug up broken glass, old rusty gardening pegs, broken dishes, kitchen utensils, and who knows what else when i’ve been gardening. I think they just plowed down a house and built mine up on top of it. I’ve not cut myself on any of the rubbish as of yet, but there’s still plenty of time.

    The hat on that pitchfork looks kind of ominous, as if someone’s buried under there O_O

  3. Meredith

    What a fantastic start on your “beanage,” as you so quaintly put it. 🙂

    I confess we are a lot less careful and scientific about our soil prep, only having one raised bed, which doesn’t perform as well as the major portion of the garden — all in ground. We did till, of course, and amend when we first began, and added compost on top in the fall and mulch in late winter, and now a bit more compost is going in specific planting areas for heavy feeders like cabbage. Otherwise, we’re lazy butts compared to this.

    Your method looks sure to work and produce well. (The evidence for you being an idiot is looking mighty slim. Not only do you do perfect soil prep, you also cook dinners for your wife — in advance of continent-spanning travel!)

  4. Jo

    I think the same idiot must have had my allotment at one time or another. The amount of broken glass we have unearthed is unbelievable. What a caring hubby you are to prepare meals for Mrs IG before you go away.

  5. Jess

    I remember my parents making me pick beans as a kid in the summer… hot as hell. It was the worst 15 minutes of my life, every single day during bean season :). It still affects all my rational thought process about beans. Nothing but work!

  6. gippslandgardener

    I’m tired just reading about the hard work that has gone into preparing the beanage so far, but it is looking very impressive!
    You know, I think the ‘former house owning idiot’ must have lived in Australia at some stage too and for some inexplicable reason decided to bury all of their shoes beside my lemon tree.

  7. kiwi gomes

    Sweet! Love dirt! Going to play in it myself today 😀 Hoping to get some peas in the ground … maybe too early???? Where exactly is ‘the other side of the workld?’ Sounds fun!!!

  8. Sylvia (England)

    If you are short of time, don’t worry about stones for beans. They do need lots of organic matter at the bottom of the trench as they are fairly deep rooted. They will love the wet paper. Save shifting the soil for areas where root vegetables, especially carrots, are to be grown. Though your soil doesn’t look as though it has many stones but pictures can be misleading. No one I have gardened with has sifted soil for garden beds.

    Have a good trip. Best wishes Sylvia

  9. Martyn Cox

    What is the lure of burying rubbish? My garden had a strata of tin, corrugated metal and wire about 1ft beneath ground level. Maybe there’s a hidden purpose to rubbish burying that ordinary folk will never be able to understand. Nice looking trench by the way.

  10. The Idiot Gardener

    Edith, I cannot think of a worse thing that a woman who does not eat meat. In fact, your post reminded me of an incident relating to meat-eating that I shall try and recount when my head is back on the right way around.

    Kyna, I understand the irony of it; surely it’s easier to throw rubbish away than to dig a deep hole and bury it!

    Meredith, everything I have read thus far stresses the need for soil preparation; maybe I have been duped!

    Jo, sadly I have taught Mrs IG that the kitchen is a place best avoided. I therefore have an obligation to ensure that she doesn’t starve when I’m not around.

    Jess, I felt the same about gardening. maybe you need a bean epiphany or something?

    Gippslandgardener, for some reason I can see buried shoes as being more acceptable than rubbish. Maybe it was the result of a lovers’ tiff. I once had a girlfriend who burned one sock out of every pair I owned.

    Kiwi Gomes, ’twas Japan, and for a two-day trip with two days of travelling, ’twasn’t a lot of fun!

    Sylvia, I often think I am going over the top with the soil, but I have to remind myself that I only need to do it once!

    Is, thanks, your post just brought it back to me!

    Dirty Girl Gardening, I do a side-line in burial grounds!

    Martyn, perhaps they don’t realise that the stuff can be placed outside for collection!


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