“Crumble, Rumble Soil Toil and Trouble!”
E37 – W24
You never fully appreciate how large something is as an undertaking until you start to deconstruct it! That’s how my last week has been spent … appreciating the undertaking at hand. I have made a few vows this week … and one of them is to never have a large garden again.
Sounds and perhaps reads as negative, it is not meant to … but gardening is a responsibility that one takes on board like pet ownership – things need to be done and depending upon your gardening style and schedule may be every day in every week, every month for all of the year and for the years that follow reflective upon the individual’s desires and needs for content, productivity or produce for the table.
When Suze and l took this house rental on board we did so for the garden for Scrappy – the garden whatever the use would need tending, upkeep, managing and maintaning on a regular basis. I suppose had l NOT discovered that random compost bin hidden out the back in the early days of the rental clean up – l probably would not have ventured further into the world of dedicated composting and vegetable gardening at all.
That solitary Dalek compost bin is the Great Granddaddy to everything that l produced here compost wise. It became the focus of my hobby for four years. Typical Aspergian lack of moderation skill set meant l researched everything about composting because l don’t believe in doing anything by half and then started really looking at what made decomposition tick and how decay decayed!
The original compost l worked with was 8 years of age and mature vintage it was scattered onto the roses in August 2016.
You can clearly see with the photographs what this place was like when Suze, Scrappy and l took it on board in 2016 and trust me when l say the house was in a diabolical state as well – not now, oh no – far from that now!
When we took this place on board officially in July 2016, so technically four years ago, we took on board a nightmare rental money pit. A property that was so horribly abused and neglected by landlord and tenants alike it made Suze cry with the first viewing after picking up the keys for our contract.
She regretted us renting it. I saw potential in it and knew it just needed some TLC. Yes we have spent some money here .. which is why the landlord is now selling – because IT IS in 100% better shape that it ever was. The landlord is getting a better bargain out of our departure because our tenancy has added an additional 50K on top of her sales price.
The property went into the market this week valued at £50 short of £400,000. If you watch the video tour, you can see how very different that back space is now even with the deconstruction of the garden in process. The new greenhouse, the cleared space at the back which is regained and workable space now – displaying serious potential to prospective buyers.
If l had the money l would buy this property myself, fix it up properly and sell it for closer to £500,000 which it could easily fetch. This place sure is worth more than it was, but is it worth nearly 400 in its current state? No, it needs a complete overhaul and l think serious buyers will probably put in bids of £325,000 and at that price they would have a bargain.
Anyway, l digressed … didn’t l.
It’s been a seriously tough week deconstructing but l have made some real headway, but it taken its toll on my body. The mold spore conjunctivitis which is triggered by humidity, pollen and mostly spore dust has caused me a relatively serious eye injury which if l cannot repair myself l will have to seek out medical care. But l seemingly have a hole in my left eyelid which is now infected. My eyes are are so sore it is unreal and it has made me realise my vulnerabilities with regards a hobby of mine … notably composting.
This morning l have ordered facemasks and face shields in a bid to protect my eyes whilst working with all this soil in this heat – it’s a case of irony here. I need the soil to be bagged but it needs to be dry because working with damp or wet soils is very tiring – but my eyes would prefer to work with the latter over the former. A nasty catch 22 really.
Yesterday l finally managed to finish off the beds and a couple of the containers to boot and l can rest my eyes for a few days before it starts again. We are working on the packing up of the shed this afternoon, so l’ll not be working with any soils. By the time l restart next week, hopefully the face shields will be here.
I am having to apply aloe vera gel to my left eye every hour in a hope of reducing the inflammation and swelling as well as warm bathing to cleanse the infection out. My left eye is significantly worse than my right sadly and it looks like l have been stabbed or something awful! The dry skin and discomfort is driving me insane. So l am glad in some ways that my new composting system is going to be very different because l now know l cannot continue to work the open hot composting system anymore.
The new composting system is only really going to comprise of a compact hot bin, a bokashi food composter and one of the wooden units set up with existing potting soil and an internal worm farm continually rotivating the soils for me. I am looking forwards to seeing that in action – as it will mean that the worm farm will just work an existing potting soil into a really beautiful soft and finely sieved workable material.
The hot compost compact bin will produce the compost which is then tipped into the worm farm. The bokashi food composter will furnish me with an eco liquid compost and the content can then be added to 1] the hot compost compact unit and small amounts added to the worm farm. But it means, that my hands on with the mold spores will be vastly reduced, therefore not causing my eyes to overreact like they have done this year.
I am also looking forward to writing about it all and the benefits it will have on “The Dug Out’s Secret Garden!’ Which will be the new gardening series commencing in October.
The reason my eyes are so bad this week is because with the smaller raised beds it wasn’t just a case of emptying off and bagging the soils – but also sieving off those particular soils because l intend to keep as much of them as l can because Suze and l will be having the smaller beds with us. Admittedly l am only having one bay be that a single or a double up, l don’t know just yet, quite possibly the latter to be able to cope with deep rooted plantings, whilst Suze will have three – so the soils from there needed to be finely sieved.
When they were set up in January of this year they had raw compost at the bottom, potting composts in the middle and new soils on the top, then they were fed and managed – the result is those beds have a top notch workable soil to them that l prefer to not lose or ultimately give away. It is currently valued for retail sale at £120 for a quarter tonne and l have 2 tonne in bags/bins in the garden – so in comparison to the larger raised beds whereas l AM giving the soil away – l would like to keep some back.
This particular sieving process is also very detailed in so far as it is a real screening – so stones and bits come out, worms are allocated out to the worm bins and discarded products are dumped into the compost bins that are staying with the property. There is no doubt in my mind why the last seven days have exhausted me nor why my eyes are in such a dreadful state. But hey the harder l push my body the more it bounces back healthy – so that’s a great benefit to the hard work.
But sieving all week and working closely with mold spores is what has done the damage to my eyes this week. But hey at least for the time being it’s all done, that’s one less job l have to worry about.
The thing about here is this … this isn’t a property with a garden attached it’s a garden that happens to have a house attached! Whoever buys this house is doing so because they want to have a garden and not just because they like the house. The two images above show the Dalek compost bin again but this time with a totally solid compost brewing which would be ready for 2020 autum use and the set up they are being left.
Thanks for reading – catch you in part 2.