Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Saturday 21 March 2009

Continuing to decommission the pond

Filed under: Greenhouse,Progress — Helen @ 4:54 pm

I have spent two sessions since the last post breaking up the path in front of the pond, removing the underlay for the pond liner and breaking up the edge of the pond. I managed to remove all the paving slabs quite easily, but most of the foundation of the pond was solid concrete, which I broke up with a pickaxe. This was quite easy, really. It is absolutely essential to wear eye protection for this job. It is also highly advisable to keep your mouth shut, however much the exertion may make you want to breathe through your mouth. I used the pickaxe to make a line of indentations at right angles to the path edge and eventually a section would break off. It is important to work out how much you can lift, and break the concrete up into sections that are not too heavy.

Me sitting in the pond

Me sitting in the pond

I pulled away the remaining underlay and put it on top of various earth piles, where it will provide the useful function of deterring cats who want to increase the organic content of my soil. I also dug a little deeper right at the bottom of the hole so I could bury a very heavy kerbstone that I dug up from the shrub patch next to my house when the Residents planted things last April. The kerbstone was too heavy for me to lift safely so I didn’t want to try and take it to the dump.

I have started to remove one of the tree stumps that was left in place when the pond was dug. It has flaked off into small pieces, which I am putting in my compost heap. I think there are more tree stumps in the area. There is also a great deal of rubble, and the soil directly under the path is poor quality subsoil, not topsoil as I had hoped. I think I am going to end up with too much subsoil and not enough topsoil. As I have no intention of paying to have the subsoil taken away and replaced with topsoil, I am going to have to convert the subsoil to topsoil. I am not sure whether this is actually possible, but I found an article here that said it was: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/shade_gardening/714. I think I just have to remove the rubble and any large stones and add some compost or soil improver. I am not going to add any sand because my subsoil is sandy enough.

I am seriously considering whether to keep my temporary pond. Over the past few days I have enjoyed the activity that I can see from my kitchen window while doing the washing up. A thrush has been pulling out bits of plant, presumably to make a nest with. Maybe I will put in a small moulded pond where the temporary pond is now, when the real pond has been dug.

I rang up the greenhouse installer and told him the window wouldn’t fasten shut, and he said I should give it a shake and then try again. So I gave it a shake, and it was a little nearer to being fastenable, and then another shake, and then a few more, and then I could fasten it. I’m not convinced the fasteners are really in the right place, but there don’t seem to be any gaps when the window is closed, which is the important thing.

It is possible that the newts that I transferred from the old pond to my plastic buckets may have died because the water got too cold overnight. There was a smaller volume of water in the buckets than in the pond, so it would have got colder more quickly. Although the newts could get out, they may not have realised in time that they were getting too cold. It was a shame that they died, but I have found plenty more around the old pond, so the population is not in danger.

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