In trying to generate a regular income from West Hill, which the students & others can be part of we are trying to make the large glasshouse more fit for purpose & create raised beds which can be used for year round cultivation of salads, peppers, tomatoes & aubergines which will then be sold to local food outlets.
Last year we experimented in tomatoes in growbags. Although several hundred pounds were gathered the plants didn't respond well to the heat. Plants dried out quickly which resulted in cracked fruit & leggy vegetative growth.
This year the plan will be different. We are constructing 2 large (12 m x 1m raised beds) each 600mm high. This is good for two reasons; Firstly plants are less lightly to dry out (deep soil in comparison to the shallow soil of a growbag) & secondly the large beds will allow crops to be grown through out the year.
So this is where we are ... in the midst of one huge Herculean task.
Anthony & I moving positioning the timber
Steve, our master carpenter attaching uprights to secure
Raised beds covered in Damp Proof Membrane (to preserve the timber) are now ready for the soil
We've reinforced the structure by inserting vertical timbers into the ground & horizontal timbers both at the top & bottom to tie the whole thing together.
This has very much been a team effort.
My thanks go out to Steve, Don & Anthony for their help
As the timber work is being finished off I am wheeling in the soil. I'm currently averaging an average 25 of wheelbarrows a day (in addition to other jobs). This is hard work, but bit by bit the mountain of soil is going down.
This equates to 20 wheelbarrows. 20 down 2000 to go.
Once the beds are full of soil, a thick layer of manure will be added & allowed to settle before young plants can be planted in early May