Having got as far as I could with the raised bed thing and now waiting for delivery of the final tonne of topsoil, I decided to indulge myself with a bit of variety and demolish one of my old garden sheds.
I’m noy a fan of wooden sheds; they’re too much hard work. I prefer metal. All that talk about metal freezing in the winter, baking in the summer and dripping litres of condensation over everything is easily resolved with a bit of insulation. Metal’s cheaper, essentially maintenance-free and, indeed, stronger (though you wouldn’t think so until you’d screwed the last screw into place!).
My two 25-year-old sheds had loads of life in them except for one little problem. In their day, where any of the hundreds of screws, nuts and bolts that held them together went through the outside sheeting, they were bedded into rubber washers (modern sheds usually use compound washers instead of rubber). Rubber eventually rots. When it does, the sheets become loose and you’ve got lots of little holes through which rainwater finds its way. But the screws, nuts and bolts had all corroded together and were immovable without damaging the external metal sheets. Of course, if the washers had been compound types, this would have been perfect – the sheds would have stayed put in their splendour for years more.
But faced with an impossible renovation job, I’d decided earlier in the year to exchange two sheds for a single bigger (10 x 6 feet) one. And this would clear space for a bigger greenhouse. I’d long felt that 5 feet long wasn’t enough and wanted 8!
After a lot of research, I’d made my choice, had decided to go for a woodgrain effect coating instead of the usual green and white, and placed my order, delivery carefully timed to follow construction of the raised bed thing.
I didn’t bother carefully dismantling the old shed, just decamped its contents into the other one and applied a wrecking bar and sledgehammer. A morning of noise and the shed was loaded into the car to go for recycling, large multi-sheet panels folded down to car-sized lumps.
Then it really was relax for a week until the remaining topsoil came and was added to the “thing”. Three tonnes weren’t enough but I’d planned to fill one compartment with an acidic mix and had several small bags of topsoil bought from the local garden centre in case of shortage.
Then another break until the new shed was delivered. My happy existence was, however, brought to a complete and sudden halt by the appearance of something I’d never expected to see: horsetail!
And you can see from the ruler that you’re only looking at a few square feet of soil. The supplier didn’t respond to an email and didn’t respond to a barrage of tweets/Facebook messages not just from me but from others. It got to the point where I was digging 50-100 shoots out of the planter every couple of days. Eventually the supplier, The Topsoil Shop, did email to say it wasn’t their fault but they’d issued a full refund for the order (which I never received, by the way). Eventually I gave up and dug out all the soil and sent it to landfill, replacing it with better stuff.
In part 5 I’ll build my shed and have an unexpected visit to A&E at the local hospital. And I’ll build my greenhouse too so I’m up-to-date.