Hard Slog: Man vs. Midden

We’ve been doing a lot of general clearing and sorting down at Plot #59 this month. Jo has been hacking back her sunflower thicket and deadheading everything that’s still in flower. I’ve been clearing away spent bean plants, tidying up the brassicas and ripping out a few large weeds that have snuck in here and there. That sort of thing.

One of the bigger jobs I’ve been tackling is preparing the ground for the central path that has been on the books since day one. It’s a slow, meticulous task: for every forkful of ground turned over there’s a good two minutes’ worth of picking out of rubbish to follow, especially now I’m re-encountering the midden in the middle of the patch. Here’s a quick example of the sort of crap I’m removing, and the amounts of it:

October 2016 - the midden
On the left: a freshly-turned forkful. On the right: about a session’s worth of excavated crap.

I took the pics above a couple of weeks ago. Since then I’ve filled another three, maybe four large containers with yet more rubbish. Based on the sheer amount of crap (do excuse the technical term) that’s coming out – broken glass, smashed pottery and tiles, chunks of brick, stones, metal, plastic, wire, crisp packets, bottle tops, you name it; assorted junk of all kinds – I think it must have been used as a dumping ground by at least five of the previous tenants.

One current plot neighbour said that when one of those previous tenants was booted off the plot and left in a fit of pique: smashing up and burning a shed or two in the process (as well as cutting down some amazingly productive fruit trees). I think it must be the remains of that shed that I’m finding now, and I suspect that the shed was filled with extra random rubbish before it was demolished, just to make sure the resulting mess was extra nasty.

Still, it needs doing. The midden has been an unsightly hump in the middle of the plot since we took it on, and the sooner it’s dug and cleared, the sooner we can run our central path right up the middle of the plot, with pollinator-luring flower beds either side. It’ll be well worth it once it’s done.

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4 comments

    • Darren T says:

      Aye, once the central path is in it might start looking like a proper allotment plot. Only three years in… I think we’re still ahead of schedule 🙂

  1. Sue Garrett says:

    We had similar task when clearing one of our plots, broken glass and bits of broken polystyrene used to line an old shed. A half rotted carpet that had integrated with the weeds growing through it but disintegrated when we were removing it. Countless TV aerials, a supermarket trolley and a pathway made of metal grids? Just some of the rubbish before we could tackle the ‘weeds’. It will be worth it in the end.

    • Darren T says:

      A shopping trolley? Blimey. We’ve not had anything quite that dramatic, not yet at least. Carpet is horrible stuff to clear, especially if it had that nasty foam backing that disintegrates into tiny, non-compostable chunks.

      But yes, it definitely will be worth it. Onwards! 🙂

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