Monday, September 13, 2010

Asparagus and a fine weekend

It is now the start of the third year the after planting of our two asparagus crowns and we have reaped our first harvest. The total first crop is illustrated in the accompanying photo.

There is another spear on the way, but it’s not quite ready to cut. Hopefully it will be ready soon enough to prevent arguments over who gets to eat. A second spear would at least give us one each.

Saturday and Sunday were the first fine weekend we’ve had for some time and I was able to get a few things done. However I didn’t get round to weeding a narrow garden alongside our boundary fence. It is getting quite overgrown with a healthy crop of low growing weeds. If only the veggies thrived as well.

Maybe I’ve been bit too optimistic, but I planted out two Roma tomato plants. I’ve given them a little protection with plastic guards in case we get another frost. One of the unfortunate things of our location is the unexpected frosts, which often come in October and even into November. So any planting of frost tender plants has an element of risk. But the alternative is leaving planting until very late Spring or early summer.

I also sowed seeds into a few punnets.
I’ve had very little success with growing from seed. In the past pumpkin, Zucchini and beans have done very well. Onions have also succeeded. But everything else has been very hit and miss. On Saturday I sowed some Rhubarb and Asparagus as well as some ornamentals: Penstemon, Larkspur and California poppies. To (hopefully) improve their chances I’ve placed them in a temporary “green house” made out of an upturned plastic storage box.

It’s now been a couple of weeks since the shed was built and I’ve moved the mower, mulcher and kettle barbecue into it. That has given me a lot more room in the garage. I haven’t totally solved the problem of the leaks, but I have an idea where some of the water has been getting in and I’ll attempt to fix that before too long.

I did notice one little pool of water yesterday that had no logical source. I checked all around the concrete outside the shed, I checked the walls, and the roof and the pool seemed to have no source. The only conclusion I can draw is that it’s coming up out of the floor itself.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reviewing The Shed

Before buying a book a CD or a DVD, or before seeing a movie, we can refer to reviews to get an idea of whether it suits our tastes and requirements. There are even reviews of restaurants and wines which can help us make informed choices. But as far as I know, similar resources are not available to help us choose a significantly more expensive and long lasting item - a garden shed.

One thing we overlooked when we bought our house was its lack of storage, and in particular outside storage. For four years our gardening equipment has been taking up room in the garage, at times making movement around the garage difficult.

A few weeks ago, after considering a lot of different options, we were seduced by a glossy advertising leaflet that came with the junk mail. Several different sheds were offered at sale prices. One looked particularly attractive, was the right size and came with a window panel. It also had a 20 year warranty. It looked to be exactly what we were looking for so we placed an order.

A week later the kit was delivered and we arranged for a suitably skilled friend to assemble it. Last Friday he came around, and when I got home from work the shed was finished – but what a disappointment.

1) The paperwork with the shed said the warranty was 12 years and not the 20 years in the leaflet (which we no longer have).
2) The panels were joined together with self-tapping screws, which mostly had their sharp points exposed inside the shed.
3) There were a couple of sharp edges exposed on the door.
4) The next morning the inside walls and roof were dripping with condensation.
5) Despite sealing all around with silicone, after the weekend’s heavy rain the floor inside was soaked. We were able to remove half a bucketful of water.

When I consider the cost of the shed alongside the disappointing product, for not much more I could have had a much more suitable and efficient shed custom built.