Shorter days and longer lockdowns means more time spent on the internet, resulting in some interesting shopping results for the Midlife Garden. Anticipation of the next DPD or Hermes delivery is what is getting us through this pandemic. Even better if purchases from the interweb can supporting our horticultural efforts, so I put together my own WWW: Water Butts, Wheelbarrow wheels and Worms..
First up, my two 700 litre water butts, which are delivered before Christmas on a very large lorry. Gary, our neighbour, is scratching his head trying to work out what they were. As I plant the installation, I realise I need a large drill bit to connect them to the downpipe. Back in the day, when I was first delivering posts as the Midlife Gardener, I would have been able to rummage in The Old Man’s workshed for the requisite part, but today I have to borrow off Gary. He is ex-navy (like TOM) and his workshop is like an F1 pit compared to mine, which looks as well ordered as a pharaoh’s tomb – after the tomb robbers have left.
Gary is happy to oblige, grateful that I have satisfied his curiosity on the nature of the large green items, but he can only find a 15mm drill piece. My instruction sheet states 17mm so I say I can probably ‘make do’ with this one (bodge is the word that hovers in my mind). Gary looks concerned: two mil is a lot he says – so I nod knowingly and agree, realising my rooky error. He finds the correct size in amongst his third full set of gleaming drill bits and I take it gratefully. I still feel like a child playing grown-up games, when it comes to DIY.
Before I can move the butts, I have to change the wheel on the wheelbarrow, which is flatter than one of Lewis Hamilton’s supersofts after full race distance. Any more F1 analogies on pit stops end there, as I employ a hack saw to remove and replace the axle. The new tyre is the hardest of “hards”: a tyre that the website assured me was puncture proof, which is no surprise as it feels like it is made of iron. As I bump across the patio, I am struggling to detect the “honeycomb” structure they told me about, but at least I will not be needing any pit stops for pyracantha-induced punctures.
Remarkably, I set up the water butt with little or no problem – much to Mrs B’s surprise. No double-sawn pipes, broken tanks or major self-inflicted injury, and the little boy in me is chuffed at my apparent competence.
The third of my triad of garden purchases comes as a result of my lockdown rock and roll lifestyle, reading reviews in Gardeners World magazine. It is a wormery – which arrives complete with trays, bedding, a bag of worms, and even some food to get the little wrigglers started. A wormery seems an excellent way to recycle the food waste: they just gobble it up apparently. Though not immediately. The instructions tell me that the worms need time to settle in (perhaps they get travel sick?), and so for the first couple of weeks I am supposed to feed them the granular stuff they came with, give them shredded newspaper to ward of the cold, and check on them regularly to make sure none are making a bolt for freedom, like a bunch of ‘homing worms’.
Honestly – they’re just worms, aren’t they? But these are not your ordinary earth worms: these are TIGER worms. They will soon be munching their way through the foodwaste, producing good compost out the bottom (literally) and making more little worms. So, with my big butts, we will be recycling food and water to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our green credentials.
As Wilson Sports used to say: The Right Equipment Makes the Difference”. If they’re right we will be smashing it when spring comes around.