As mentioned last week, Wednesday has become my day to catch up with chores at home and in the garden. This morning, after doing some laundry and getting my kitchen in order, I headed off in the car with the dog, to go for a walk and then go on to B&Q to return a few items I'd bought last week, that we didn't actually need.
I stopped off at Poundland first, as I needed a few household bits and pieces. It's amazing how needing a few bits and pieces can lead to you spending £20 in there. Having said this, it did lead to a solution to a problem I've been having with the vegetable beds.
Since building them, we've had a few nocturnal visits from cats in the neighbourhood, who have been using one of them as a litter tray. Now no offence meant here to cat owners, but the thought of their excrement being in the same place as our vegetables is a bit off putting, so I needed to find a solution to keep the cats off.
I'd thought about netting, but had heard stories of birds getting caught in it, which I certainly didn't want. Anyway, I found some rolls of chicken wire in Poundland, that were (just) long enough to cover the beds, so bought a couple and when I got home I stapled them across the top of the beds. I'm hoping it works, at least until things really start growing. It's not the neatest solution and OH hates it, but at a cost of just £2, it's worth a try.
Here's a picture of the wire stretched across the beds, it was tight to get them to fit, so they are secured a little precariously to say the least. You can see that some of the seedlings are now showing through the soil.
Anyway, when I finally got to B&Q, I managed to return the fabric pegs that weren't suitable for our needs and a watering can hose that didn't fit our watering can, and used the refund to buy another bale of compost to fill the remaining bed. I also bought two grow bags for £2 each, to house this year's tomato plants in the greenhouse. I just need the tomato plants themselves now, as I didn't grow any this year, and I'm set.
Later this afternoon, I was all set to venture out to the horse stables and fill four bags with manure, to also add to the second bed, when there was a torrential down pour, so the job was put off until tomorrow. It was interesting to witness that the chicken wire survived the onslaught of the rain, which was very heavy, which is a big plus.
I'm currently waiting for the extra weed suppressant fabric to arrive. I ordered it from eBay yesterday, so I'm hoping it will be here by the weekend and then I can complete that part of the project ready for when OH goes to buy the bark mulch.
I've decided that if I can remember, I'm going to keep a strict record of costs in building the beds and try to record harvests, so that I have some idea of when the beds will actually have paid for themselves in vegetables harvested. It will be interesting to find out how quickly we are able to recover the cost of the construction in produce. When you add in petrol to get to the allotment and yearly allotment fees once I give up my plot, I'm sure that this will happen much sooner than we think.