We returned to Portugal in Mid October and the weather was hot and dry; a balmy Indian Summer. My raised vegetable bed which had been left to run wild in my absence was full of weeds and in dire need of some tender loving care. I’d never grown winter vegetables before so I was keen to experiment and plant a selection – anything and everything from carrots and spinach to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower to name a few. Well that was the plan until I started digging and weeding to prepare the soil…
It was then I discovered to my horror the roots from nearby mimosa trees and the melaleuca hedge had invaded my raised vegetable bed. Please don’t ask me why, but it never occurred to me roots grew skywards as well as downwards so I never took preventative action by laying a root barrier membrane at the bottom of the bed. Big mistake!
Did you realise roots grew upwards? Probably. It’s just me that’s a complete muppet!
Have you ever noticed we are wiser in hindsight?
How many times do we say “If only”?
Well, “if only” I had engaged my brain I would not have to remove all the soil to lay a membrane!
Fortunately, when we built the raised bed we divided it in two with some building blocks. Although a temporary measure at the time, to ease the strain of filling such a large area with soil in one go, it did mean I could easily move the soil from one side to another in order to lay the membrane.
As you can imagine, moving thousands of shovelfuls of soil took weeks. It was back-breaking work, but I’m very pleased to say Mr. Piglet (after a good moan) did take pity on me and moved the lions share. However, as he dug, he did his utmost to convince me I was wasting my time and energy.
Digging keeps you fit!
Well, there was only one thing for it, all the earth would need to be removed from the bed so I could lay a root barrier at the bottom of each bed to stop (hopefully) further problems with roots…
Mr. Piglet kept reminding me (as he dug and I supervised) that my vegetable growing “failures” to date far outweighed my successes. Was it really worth the effort? However, he finally accepted my continued optimism and acknowledged the joy I experienced when something did grow.
Finally, we completed the task and I went to a local market to buy some seedlings.
….and the moral of this story is?