Tuesday, October 18, 2022

An unexpectedly easy job

It’s not easy for me to get projects finished (obviously), but sometimes it’s completely understandable. This past Sunday, I finally accomplished something that’s been on my to-do list for about a year, and it was one of those projects that I couldn’t easily do by myself. Or, so I thought

The VegePod raised garden bed I bought two years ago had been stuck in the ground for about a year, and it looked awful: It happened because the wheels were on the ground, not on a hard surface as it’s supposed to be, and the weight of the thing caused it to sink into the dirt, where it got stuck (it was too heavy for me to pull it out). Weeds then grew underneath, and later, when the cover got askew from strong winds, weeds grew inside it, too. Because I couldn’t move the VegePod, I couldn’t mow underneath it as I did that first summer. I also couldn’t get the weedeater underneath it, though I tried as best I could.

This all happened mainly because I didn’t use it all last year because lockdowns were at the wrong time, and that prevented me from buying plants. I actually tried starting some seeds, but we had a spring storm with strong winds that blew the cover off—and all the pots with seeds onto the ground, dumping out the contents before they even had a chance to germinate. I gave up.

I knew I wanted to use it this year, but I also knew I wouldn’t be able to plant it out until I moved it. I made an elaborate plan for how I could do that by myself: I’d put a large plastic sheet on the ground, dig out all the dirt (to make it lighter and possible for me to move it), and then, I’d move the VegePod (assuming my plan worked and I could get it unstuck…), and I’d put put all the dirt back in it.

My first task was to remove all the weeds inside under the cover. Then, my next task was to start my elaborate plan—but I’d gotten a late start and I was a bit worried about how long it would take, and how physically exhausting it might be. So, I thought I may as well try moving it first.

I rocked it back and forth, lifted each corner in turn (trying not to overuse my back muscles), and I got the thing free! I pulled it over to my patio (which is cement), rolled it where it’s going to go, locked the wheels, and then went back to clear the weeds that had been under it.

After that year or so of undisturbed growth, some of the weeds had big woody clumps at their base. I pulled everything I could by hand, then used the garden fork to leverage the root clumps out of the ground (I’m composting all of that, of course). I’ll mow the lawns later in the week, then sow some grass seed at that spot.

Now that it’s moved, I can plant the raised bed—although it already has some thyme growing, I noticed. As it happens, the Labour Day holiday weekend, which is this coming weekend, is traditionally when people plant their gardens for summer (although it’s actually any time before the end of October that people shoot for; the holiday weekend just gives them an extra day to work on their gardens).

In my case, I also have to clean up my patio itself and remove the weeds growing around it, but those jobs are much easier. Planting out my gardens—including the hedges I never managed to get planted (except for one) will be a big job, but even it will be easier than trying to move that earth-locked VegePod.

This project took time to figure out because—not for the first time—I really didn’t have anyone I could ask to help me (I rarely ask for help on projects, anyway, so that I’m more likely to get help when I absolutely can’t do something myself, but this particular time there was no one available). It was also delayed because I needed to figure out where to put it. I knew it had to be on a hard surface, and I thought about putting down some pavers—but where? In the end, I decided to put it at one end of my patio, which is 8 metres wide by 2.6 metres deep (from the house to the edge). I don’t actually use the patio, so giving up one end for gardening won’t inconvenience me. Still, I can always move it somewhere else later on if I want to.

The important thing to me right now is that the worst of my outside jobs is done—finally!!!—and that makes me very happy. Now, on to the next one(s).

The photos up top are the VegePod before I started the project, and below is the spot before I cleared the weeds and after. The single photo shows the the VegePod after I took the cover off, showing the weeds growing in it as well as under it.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

"Out, damn weeds! Out, I say!" - William Shakesplant