A few weeks ago we had most of the shed alongside the road re-roofed. The old wriggly tin had been there since before Sue’s arrival here in 1980 and was leaking, particularly over the forge.

It’s a long story, it should have been done about two years ago but, to protect our not-so-innocent friendly builder, it wasn’t. Bizarrely, one of the guys who did the job, during one of the hottest weeks of the year, is a relaive of someone who lives further up our valley!

What’s that got to do with garlic, I hear you say? Well, a couple of years ago – when the roof should have been done! – Sue decided to grow the garlic up the hill behind the house. It’s one of the sunniest bits of the garden. It’s also a heck of a long way to carry buckets of water in dry spells. Result: a couple of years with pretty poor crops of an essential cooking ingredient.

But now we have a big pile of slightly rusty wriggly tin. What to do with it? How about a new garlic bed / container? After all the round wriggly tin works well in the yard tfor the fuschia. Cue Sue’s “I’ve got an idea!” and me disappearing under the duvet in the hope she might forget when I emerge.

She didn’t!

The outcome? A new place for the garlic to grow. It can get really hot in the yard. I know from greeting visitors there, over the years. Slight problem, it’s not flat, so some careful measuring is required.

First make a frame. Easy enough with all the odd bits of timber around the place, but it was getting a bit iffy in terms of finding enough long screws.

Then clad the frame in wriggly tin.

Ooops! Got the frame back to front at the rear – never mind!

I thought that was my bit done. No! I was also required to fill it.

Apparently there’s something called HugelKultur which means growing on rotting logs. We’ve plenty of those down in the spooky forest, so off we go with the tractor and bring back three or four loads.

Logs, nettles and composted wood chip

On top of the logs goes a layer of green material – here it’s freshly cut nettles – and then a layer of well rotted woodchip – yet more trips with the Fergie.

Woodchip and nettles

Then we added a layer of what is basically sand. When we had the big storms earlier in the year, the stream brought down loads of sandy silt, which we had to shovel up off the road. Good to have found a use for it.

After that came barrow loads of well rotted horse poo, from our late neighbour Rob up the road. Apparently I wasn’t meant to use all of it, but a communication glitch (and she was out for the day!) meant around 7 big loads of s**t went to fill up my beautifully crafted frame

And then came the planting….

Having done so much of the work, I’ve ‘demanded’ that it contains garlic and only garlic – none of that “companion planting” stuff!

Time will tell!!!

Oh yes, I was about to paint it a lovely black, but I’m told shabby chic is best. Won’t last as long though!