Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

Making the Beds

Sunday, 18th February, 2007
veg bedsAFTER A BUSY WEEK launching the new book, we give ourselves today to catch up in the garden. It's amazing what you can get done when you have a whole day free of commitments.

In order to extend our vegetable growing we've taken out hawthorn, flowering currant and dogwood. The discarded boughs, roots and branches were taking up half a veg bed. I sawed them into roughly half metre (18 inch) lengths and I'll make a habitat pile from them. They're currently stacked up neatly in the wheelbarrow (bottom left).

We bagged up the twiggy branches, which don't compost down quickly, and took them to the green waste skip at the local dump. Julian next door tells me he has now bought an efficient shredder so next time I'll borrow it and we'll use the shreddings as mulch. I once had a shredder but it was very noisy and not very effective with larger twigs.

I've got a power saw but for trimming these logs I preferred to work steadily and quietly with a hand saw. I wanted to enjoy the task, not to be beset by noise as I worked.

TIP 1: a saw with large teeth works best for sawing up logs

TIP 2: a squirt of W-D40 lubricant ('a miracle in a can'!) or a smear of petroleum jelly on the saw blade makes it so much easier when you're sawing through damp wood.

TIP 3: as you can see, I've got the old patio table down the garden at the moment; this is ideal for sawing, saves me crouching down to work. The table would be useful when I'm potting up plants or trimming leeks etc. too so if I can find a space for it down the garden I'll give it a reprieve (I was going to saw it up too, as it's starting to sprout spots of fungi, but it's still solid enough to use as a work bench).