Thursday, January 23, 2014

Yarden soil

Plenty of earth/mud was excavated to lay the foundation of our adjacent new house [not moved there, but continue to live in old one].  A large quantity of mud was used for the support platform of RCC roof.  After curing, this was dismantled.  A large pile of mud, which is usually disposed as debris got accumulated.  I retained some of the good portions to be recycled as garden soil since most of it was good red earth, but now a mixture of small stones, cement grits and sand -easily separable.

 Notice the pile of mud in the above picture.  Earlier batches were having too many wastes and so I allowed it to be disposed as land fill debris. That is the lot I asked the worker to dump in the yarden, inside the white compound wall you see there.  By that time, I had planned the garden area after it had become free of junk and other construction materials.  I had myself passed it through a mesh [which became the window of the garden tool shed] to remove the bigger debris as I had no time to do it properly with a sieve at one go. 

 When I started gardening last year with this new area, I sieved the entire bed soil to get clean soil.  I had added vermicompost and got good results.   

The condition will further improve with the addition of more of it.  My yarden stands raised by about 3-4 inches higher than the passageway. 

A small extra portion had been dumped around the Fiddlewood tree in the front yard. On 14th and 15th January, I decided to clean the area near that tree base which had got cluttered with several things and for this I had to remove the stored mud.

Big clay pots were bought a couple of months ago.  It needed earth/soil/mud/dirt [whatever it is called] for the coming season. This mud would fit the needs but it again needed to be fine-sieved to separate the debris like I did with that huge quantity.  By doing so - hard work! - I got a full sack of fine soil. Some more is left for any more need and it will ask more sieving.

Now after moving a few stone slabs and removing clutter from the yarden, it was time to widen the bed and have a proper bed to grow sufficient plants. Hopefully, the next gardening season will be better organized.  

Next post on garden reshape, bed widening - done on 18th January.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Garden Tools

My gardening story in detail is in the very earliest posts in this blog series.  It had its beginning in the old house which now no longer exists.  During the young days, besides a rubber hose pipe, two tools were always handy in the yard. I grew up handling them for many years.  

One was a hoe-pickaxe illustrated above. It was a small but wonderful tool, its slender wooden handle was simple, sturdy and beautifully rounded.  One fine day, it was not found near the bushes where it was sometimes left.  Someone had stolen it climbing the tall compound wall. The heavy, black rubber hosepipe was also went missing the same night.

The second tool was the small hand rake with four curved teeth.  It is still in use after probably 50+ years, even having lost one tooth during service. I have it displayed in the above picture - next to the blue handle trowel.  The water can is also vintage with its 'shower flower' being of my time. 

Click on the pictures for a magnified view. 

The above picture also shows my additions in later years when I started gardening myself. 

Soon after the hoe-pickaxe was stolen, we were handicapped. My grandfather was alive then. So he requested his favourite client Salar Masood Sahib on Ashoka Road to buy a replacement for it.  He did so, but it was of low quality.  You can see it in the above, with a rubber grip and one 'finger' folded!  I bought a good rake a 8-9 years ago.  You see 4 other tools.  A small pickaxe and a small mason's trowel.  The large trowel as broken by some mason during work some years ago.  We had a hedge clipping scissors which had broken.  My friend Ramu got its handle fixed to the trowel.  The round thing on the right is a broken saddle frame of the bicycle - handy for piercing potted soil and removing weeds.

In the above you see the ones I do not use often.  The last is a cocunut shell remover.  The other three are heavy ones, may be 60 years old.  All of them have handles from branches of gooseberry tree, known for its strength.

The handle of my favourite trowel was broken.  I inserted a sturdy piece of water pipe after softening it with heat last week.  

The garden tool shed I made by recycling old doors and a grill [not seen here, but in a different post in detail].   I store all of them here, which earlier was inside the house in corners and passages.

Every gardener has his favourite tool.  I am no exception.  When Kenton visited me from the USA in 2010, he wanted to know which are my favourites and I showed these.  

"The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for Him there." - Sir George Bernard Shaw.  
With them, I have sought and got!