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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Re-using and Planning and Being a Worry-Wart

This highly attractive spot is the down the side of our house. Yep, some of our backyard is a tip. Monkey Man loves to keep everything - timber, bricks, old window frames and doors, pipes, floorboards, tyres, an old high chair... you'll find it all dumped in various corners of our backyard. Apart from being bloody eyesores, these tip spots also make me jumpy and cranky 'cos they are providing a lovely home for lots of creepy crawlies - red back spiders and huntsmen and mice and cockroaches. Although I must admit I have grown to appreciate Monkey Man's hoarding nature because it does come in handy at times. He's whipped up (well actually laboured and strained and swore for days) a chook house, stands for water tanks, a wood shed and various other handy things about the home with stuff from our rubble piles.

In fact in the last two days I've set him to work on an old cupboard door that's been hanging about here for a few years. I've been hankering for a bench in my kitchen. And Monkey Man reckons he can make one using recycled timber. So he's been removing the paint from a cupboard door that once hung in our house. We reckon it's from the 1920s and it'll look quite good. Maybe. If he doesn't poison himself and worry me silly with his reckless ways with sanding and scraping lead paint in the process. Which brings me back to this rubble pile down the side.

It's a waste of space that could be planted out. You can't tell from this photo because it's taken in the late afternoon but it does get a fair bit of sun. At the moment. Next door is a vacant block owned by our neighbour Mr P. and currently housing those rascally goats. But one day they plan to build on it. Three two-storey townhouses. So there'll be less sun one day but still enough to grow things I think. I've been wondering, why not clear it up and make use of it while I can?

Trouble is I am a worry-wart. And there's been a lot of lead paint flaked off from bits and pieces down that side. And I'm worried about the soil being contaminated.  Of course, not worried enough to do a test or anything - I'd rather worry than actually find out the facts. (Remember what a worry-wart I was about this). Anyway, I did do some googling (as I do) and apparently flowering crops like beans and tomatoes and squash tend to take up less lead from the soil. So maybe I could prepare for next spring. Or I've been thinking about espaliering some fruit trees along the house wall. Or even growing some trees up the fence side. And maybe I should put some raised beds for veggies in there. That'd stop me worrying about the soil and would prevent Wokee the puppy from destroying them. 'Cos this is her run when she is not being supervised in the rest of the backyard. And maybe this'd be the spot where I can grow some asparagus. I've been longing for asparagus ever since reading about them all over the place on your blogs. But until now I didn't think I had the space.

So what do you think? Suggestions gratefully considered.

10 comments:

  1. The idea of espaliered fruit trees sounds great, and will eventually provide you with a screen when the new dwellings go up. A few raised beds perpendicular to the house would also look good - just small short ones - possibly three? You could devote one bed to asparagus too! How exciting! If you are concerned about the veggies drawing up lead, you could always lay the new raised beds over some geotextile fabric. That way moisture can penetrate however roots cant. Good luck VG!

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  2. I too like the idea of a raised bed otherwise, if your anything like me, once the veg are grown you'll worry about actually eating them....Also if you did raised beds you could change the crops once the townhouses go it to soemthing more shade tolerant. I do think that wall is crying out for a passionfruit (maybe one last try?.....) or Kiwi though.

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  3. Definitely use the space. I don't think there would be any significant soil contamination from that rubbish, but if you're worried about it, the raised beds / containers idea would work well. Asparagus grows best in full sun, but you could probably still get a worthwhile crop there.

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  4. I agree with Phoebe but i am sure what ever it is it will look nicer then a dump I have a couple areas like that in my home.

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  5. Gasp kiwifruit. Yes! Yes! And raised beds. Oh I think so.

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  6. I'm just SO pleased that someone else has an area like this in their garden ... I thought it was only me!!! I call ours The Rat House (no explaining necessary) and my youngest son calls it The Snake Hotel!!!!! Good luck with your plans. lol x

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  7. Hmm a name. Good idea Laura but I need to come up with at least two. I am so glad we don't get snakes - that would really freak me out.

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  8. I think it's a good idea, especially with raised beds.
    My only concern would be, where will Monkey Man put his essential woodworking supplies?

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  9. Oh my, I would not want to see what is hiding under there!

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