Building the veranda

Today I walked down to the allotment in fits of excitement. Tracy had sent me a couple of photos half an hour earlier of four black pallets stacked on our plot. I couldn’t wait to get started!

When I arrived, I immediately went to feed the chicks. They seem to be doubling in size every few days at the moment. Much longer and we are going to have to put them somewhere else because they would have outgrown their coop again! By the time I had returned with a filled food bowl, they had knocked over the water. Completely exasperated, I moved some bits around and set up the water bowl on a larger brick. Here’s hoping it works!

Next I opened up the shed and began to dig out the strawberries in front of the shed. They have spread everywhere after I put them in last year at the edge of the plot. Somehow they had even spread underneath my herb boxes! I lugged the herb boxes aside and began to dig out the remaining strawberries. Within a few minutes Andy appeared with Bradley armed with spades. We dug around the blue flower pot and just as we levered it up, my husband appeared. Both my husband and Bradley wrestled it out of the hole and dragged it aside. I got busy back filling the hole.

Moving on, all three of us got busy with spades and dropped the level of the soil by 4 inches. Andy helped to take the soil level before Bradley and my husband heaved one of the pallets into place. The only issue was that the pallet wasn’t level with the slab path. The problem wasn’t with the pallet not being level but the slab being off. Andy and Tracy got hold of some small rock fragments and wedged them underneath the wobbly slab. That seemed to solve the problem and we moved onto the next two pallets. These went down quite quickly although there was a few nerve wrecking moments when it looked like the third pallet wouldn’t fit in front of the waterbutt. The thought of having to empty it, dig it out and move it half an inch to fit the pallet in was a horrendous thought. As Bradley put it down, we all gave a cheer when it fitted with less than 2 mm to spare! What a relief!

The last pallet went down in front of the willow screen perfectly. The new veranda looks amazing and as a final touch, Bradley hammered metal bars into the ground through the pallet to make sure they stay in place. It looks absolutely amazing! My husband and I filled in the gaps around the pallet with soil and compacted it to provide a barrier to stop the pallet shifting as it settles. Before we moved onto weeding, I put the herb boxes by the boundary with Mick the Greek’s plot and replanted several of the strawberries in the small gap between the end of the veranda and the path. As I was busy planting, my husband sorted through the remaining strawberries and put the best ones in a bucket with some water ready for planting tomorrow. The veranda will make such a difference, allowing us space outside the shed to properly use the handmade bench and to have a small table out there when we have dinner.

One job I have been putting off for ages is weeding along the path. Seeing how good the shed area looks now, and how shabby the edge of our plot was in comparison, I made a start. It didn’t take long as my husband joined for and we quick cleared all the grass and weeds from the path. We tried to make a start on moving the broody coop to the fruit section. However, after borrowing Andy’s electric screwdriver we realised that it was going to be a much bigger job than I had thought and we decided to put it off until tomorrow. It will need to be done early tomorrow incase Cliff wants to move his broody hen into the coop. We measured up and it will just about fit between the rhubarb crowns provided I picked a lot of it. I did and deposited it on the bench outside the greenhouse for someone else to enjoy. I like rhubarb, just not enough to eat several kilos of it!

So the plan for tomorrow is to move the broody coop to the fruit section, clear the remaining bits of rubbish from the plot (onto the pile in the car park ready for a skip) and mark out how we want the new paths and beds to be.

On a side note, Andy suggested that we would put in two posts either end of the veranda and have a canopy running from the front of the shed to the end of the veranda. It’s a smashing idea – now to work out how to pull it off!


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