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.

Turf Wars – Plot 9 starts to take shape.

“It’s not a plot, it’s a bloody field.” No shit, Sherlock!

“You’ve got your work cut out for you there.” Really? Please elucidate!

“It’ll take months to get that cleared.” Is that so? What time do you make it now?

Last Friday night, papers were signed, money changed hands, and the Idiot became the lawful tenant of Plot 9. For those that didn’t read the last post (I can’t really blame you), Plot 9 is just a bit of a field with four wooden pegs – one in each corner – and a big yellow number 9 painted on it in marker paint. The initial job was obvious. I needed to lift 250 square metres of turf and pile it up, so I could start digging.

On Saturday morning I arrived at the field, along with three other plot holders. The other tenants (of the so far allocated plots) didn’t bother. It’s odd, because less than half the plots have been taken, and of those less than half the plotholders showed all weekend, maybe because of the scale of work that needs to be carried out. There is also the fact that we’ve still got to erect deer fencing, run in water, rebuild the old field shelter and take out a few stiles and replace them with gates.

Under the flag of idiocy, the four of us decided to work together, doing one plot at a time, all of us carrying on until all four plots were clear. We had two cutting the sod, one rolling the turf and one stacking. Then an old boy with half a plot turned up and nearly died after an hour trying to help. This of course meant we were honour-bound to clear his half as well.

The sun set on Sunday, seeing four very knackered, sweaty, dirty, dribbling and aching plot holders, and 1,125 square metres of land cleared. Now, given that we’re all unhealthy overweight oldish blokes, I think we deserve a fucking parade for that!

The good thing with our approach was that if you wanted to collapse to the ground and weep with exhaustion, the mocking from the others made you soldier on. Had we all worked alone, I doubt we would have completed a quarter of what we pushed ourselves to do. Another positive is that I lost 3lbs in weight in two days, and it wasn’t dehydration because I must have drank around a gallon of water on Sunday night! There’s also the realisation that if we could do that in one weekend, there’s not a lot that’s going to hold any great fear for us.

I have one slight dilemma. Do I leave the turf stack uncovered, or do I cover it? If I leave it uncovered, the grass could reroot on the sides. If it’s covered it cuts out light. Some recommend covering it with black plastic, but that would surely keep out moisture and turn it a bit slimey, which could damage the soil. The alternative is to cover it with weed fabric, which will let in breathe but keep the light out. Decisions decisions.

The next task is to plot it all out, dig it over and get planting. Part of me thinks one path down the middle, and stepping stones between the veggies. The other favours an abstract path with smaller beds.

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10 thoughts on “Turf Wars – Plot 9 starts to take shape.

  1. Liz

    I think I am going to enjoy following your blog. I have just got my plot too, number 7. When I first started it was 3ft high in bramble. I have only managed 10days there overall but it is begining to take shape, so I know how you feel. Good luck.

  2. Stevie Taylor

    Just a little tip when planning your paths. After many years of mulching, weeding, and laying down every type of weed control fabric, stones, roof tiles, etc, I settled on making paths wide enough for one pass with the lawn mower. Everything else was too time consuming and didn’t work. And yesterday I taught my oldest child to mow those rows. Ah, a sweet, sweet summer ahead of me!!!!

  3. Britta

    Dear IG,
    WOW! What a job! “Now, given that we’re all unhealthy overweight oldish blokes, I think we deserve a fucking parade for that!” Yes – hurray – I wave a flag – and am sure: in no time you won’t be overweight any more, but (copying Tom Sawyer’s fence-painting) selling trips to the ‘Fountain of Youth – Potion No 9″.


    Impressive!!! I spent the past weekend digging away soil as well, and I’m sure I would have achieved a great deal more with a bit of peer pressure!

    As it was, I barely managed one border for the dahlias. (Though in my defence it did start raining on Saturday around noon, and while I HAVE done gardening in the dark before, digging up turf in the rain is not really something I felt like doing.)

  5. Andrea

    Your plot 9 will be like an oasis in that expanse of meadow. I hope not much pests and diseases will go there, or else the insects beware!


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