We reckoned that 8 tons of topsoil remained where Bury Hill had tipped it the week before. We had estimated that we needed between 17 and 20 tons of topsoil to fill the beds but had only been able to bring 10 tons to site at any one time. So our plan for this week was to clear all of the topsoil to the beds and firm up on the estimate for the next load. As we shoveled the soil to wheelbarrow we reflected how much harder this would be if we hadn’t covered the soil with tarpaulin the week before – and we had been tempted not to do this because we were so tired!!
Whilst this was going on we carried out a quick check on the beds to make sure that they were sufficiently clear of rubble. You may recall last week the end bed could only be cleared by using a pick axe. In turning it over it was obvious that a substantial amount of rubble remained under the surface, so the pick axe was put to work once again! An hour and several heavy pieces of brick wall later the bed was declared clear. The clay is quite clumpy in this bed, so we have decided its first crop will be potatoes.
Back at the mound of topsoil we had been joined by a Ruth and her son, Owen. Ruth runs B@titude in Kingston Road Leatherhead with a colleague. Established in 2005, the shop sells and donates babies and children's clothes and has a small cafe area, where refreshments are sold at very reasonable prices. At the back of the shop is a play area for young children and a garden with a Wendy house and seating area. The shop is a focal point for local Mums and provides an invaluable range of services and help. If you have any surplus babies and children’s clothes B@titude will find new homes for them in the local community. For more information visit their website on www.beatitude.org.uk or telephone 01372 374666.
The soil to barrow to bed conveyor belt worked methodically for several hours. To make it more exciting we tested different ways of filling the barrows – was it easier from the right or the left (the consensus was that for all of us right handed persons it is easier on the right …. no real surprises there but it killed the time!). We talked about which vegetables we’d like to grow most – carrots and broccoli were high on the agenda. And Owen had the fun job of collapsing the mound when we needed more soil to work with.
One of our team concentrated on raking over the beds as the three barrows deposited earth continually. Raking is one of those tasks which always looks easy but when you try it for any length of time you realise how tiring it is on your arms and upper torso! Well that’s what “the raker” declared – and the rest of us weren’t minded to test his declaration!
By 1.30pm the mound had disappeared and all but two beds had been mostly filled. We estimate another 6 to 7 tons of soil is needed for next week. Some beds are to be increased to about waist height for ease of access for those that cannot bend. Finishing the bed surrounds is on the list for next week.
As usual there was a very tired but content group of individuals that left the site today