As I’d had to move most of the plants and the tables they were on to get at the fence to fit my new screen, I thought I might as well carry on – I’d wanted to reset the tables properly: one of the inner corners was distinctly lower than the other, making it difficult to put plants over the join without propping up one side.
I had to shift all the pots from under the tables to the other end, out of the way, which took some doing: I’d forgotten that I had some of this stuff, it had been packed away for so long.
Right side of garden:
Left side of garden:
As you can see, this was still leading up to clearing enough space to get the screen up – the two tables joined the mess at the other end later.
I tried various ways to get the tables levelled: the soil level was higher than the paving around it (one of my first gardening projects had been to put some plastic edging strips round and topped up the soil level in an attempt to make the beds deep enough to be usable – didn’t work). As the table would have to stand on both paving and soil, I had to get the surfaces levelled.
First tried loosening the soil where the table feet would be so they could sink in to the required depth; had to keep moving the table in to check, out again, redig, move it in to check, out to re-redig … almost a hokey-cokey! I could not get the tables stable – at least, not without jamming the back against the fence, and I didn’t want to do that, in case the shed water started affecting the wooden fence there.
Then thought about putting some scrap wood down to make a level surface for the table lets, but the soil level had to be lowered (lucky there’s no pics of me jumping up and down on a bit of wood in an attempt to flatten it!); there was inches of excess soil and it didn’t want to be compacted that much … besides, I didn’t have any wood long enough to take both front and back legs, and it proved impossible to jigsaw smaller pieces to be level on both soil and paving.
I shovelled out some of the dirt into a plastic sack and dumped it in the communal bins – took three half-sacks (as much as I could carry, and only just managed that much!) to get the soil down to something approaching paving level. Ran out of strong sacks, so I put a sack between the composter and greenhouse at the other end and half-filled that with more soil – might help to keep next door’s plants from coming in, and might help to insulate the composter a bit (I can use old soil when I repot with fresh compost to do the back and the other side)
Then settled on a compromise: tamp the dirt down as much as possible, then put wood down between the legs so that the stored items would at least be a fraction off the ground. Got the tables levelled eventually (even though I had to persuade one corner down with a hammer, using a bit of wood to cushion the table top) – actually, didn’t want them exactly level, I wanted a slight angle so that water wouldn’t pool on the top and leave pots standing in puddles, but I wanted them stably un-level – wobbly un-level was easy, but getting that bubble in the spirit level to be exactly the same amount off-centre on both sides of both tables was fun!
Then I thought, as all the stored pots were out, I might as well wash ‘em before I put them back; most of them are new, but they’d collected dirt round the edges from standing on the soil – apart from those large pots that I use, inverted, as plant stands. So out with the bucket and scrubbing brush.
Took me three days to do them all (or at least, all that I’ve done so far; other pots are still being used as pot stands and will have to wait their turn) …
Still need to sort the pots and stack them to give more space, but it’s a start …
- 2 Apr, 2012
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