Eddie J

Latest posts by Eddie J

Get thrifty

Posted: 22/02/2012 at 19:54

We have a whole garden full of free or easily obtainable throw away items, or items that are constructed to a very tight budget. Here is just a small selection.

Free plant support.



Free storage using the front of a luton body.


Free garden table/bench made from scrap oak with a douglas top.




I made another one last week from yet more scrap oak.


Fold out and put away bean supports. These cost about £5.00 to make, but can be used over and over again



Free fire pit made from a washing machine drum, and a free BBQ made from an childrens swing and a metal shelf.



A free simple garden pot stand/bench made from more scrap oak.


Free bird table made from part of a felled oak tree.


A very heavy duty gadern shed which cost about £70.00 to construct. The £70.00 was cost for the cost of the materials to carry out the concrete base. Everything else came pretty much from skip diving.


A free nest box.


A free oak garden bench, made from scrap oak. We have three of these.


   Victorian path edgings used to make bordered beds.. More skip diving!



Work in Progress

Posted: 11/02/2012 at 14:00

I've been busy making another sculpture for the garden.

This one is just over 1000mm tall and weighs in the region of 50kg and is finished from green oak, and so far I have been told that it looks like a tadpole, a sperm, a cormorant, a piece of sea weed and a seed. With so many differing opinions I reckon that I have succeeded in my quest to create something different for the garden.


school allotment

Posted: 08/02/2012 at 21:58

Margo, firstly well done for taking a project such as this on. I'm sure that you already don't have enough hours in the day.

I'm no expert, but to me the hardest part is going to be keeping interest and momentum going. I would imagine that one key element is going to be growing crops which will grow and mature quickly and in bountiful succession. Obvious ones being salad crops.

Herbs could also be very good. Not even so much because of culinery uses, but simply for the smells, both good or bad. Bad creating a laugh or a snigger. Gardening of any kind should incorpate fun. Crops could be planted in shapes and patterns, or even someones name. Depending upon how many students that you have, the beds could be divided up so that students could draw and design their own little patch. Even making labels and giving the plots names could all help to inspire.

Fruit could be a winner, if it doesn't get eaten first!

A summer picnic using the veg grown, could another good one.

Don't just stick to veg, grow a few sun flowers, the taller the better. Anything that inspires the imagination is good, and if the group as a whole could make up a story or two to go with the area, this could then be incorporated into their learning, especially if interest starts to lapse.

Talkback: Gardening jobs for snowy weather

Posted: 06/02/2012 at 17:58

To me the snow  brought an added demension, helped to frame the garden, and also add new interest.

I'd just love to have a reasonable quality camera and the skill to take a good photo.

Here are two examples from our garden.


Icing On The Cake.



Talkback: Birds - make your own bird box

Posted: 06/02/2012 at 17:49
Dulal Das wrote (see)
Iam a crafts artist from Bangladesh . Interest Bird box making . Thanks Das

Das, the box as shown  http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/projects/wildlife-gardening/how-to-make-your-own-bird-box/31.html is very simple to make, but if you fancy something slightly different and have the ability/tools, you could always move away from a conventional shape and have some fun.


Also if you are making the box to suit sparrows, remember that they are a social bird and as such nest boxes can be made wider or linked together.

In respect of direction, I have nest boxes facing all manner of direction and all get used. The reason that I haven't been too concerned, is that the garden is wooded and shaded so doesn't get any full summer sun. A clear and safe flight line is more important for me when I put them up.


A few snow shots taken in the garden

Posted: 06/02/2012 at 14:38

Just a few photos to show how interest can still be created even when it snows.

The Icing On The Cake.










Work in Progress

Posted: 31/01/2012 at 22:17

Woody3, the garden is still some way from being finished, but joining the National Garden Scheme is on my list of things to do. 

As I'm constructing the garden I am also installing post into the ground with circular discs placed over. These are just proud of the ground, and my hope is that these can be used to display work by local artists as and when the garden is open.

Being mainly a wooded garden and laid out with newly planted Azaleas and Rhododendrons, the actual planting appeal is initially going to be limited. By adding sculpture and work of others, any short fall in planting or timing, should easily be made up for.

This is another of my projects. The aim this year is to build a brick Pizza/bread oven onto the side, although with so much hard landscaping still left to do, it may have to wait another year.




Posted: 30/01/2012 at 23:05

I would suggest that initially you just keep the garden as lawn for the first year, just to see how the garden changes throughout the spring and summer. Note things such as areas of shade and full sun,  what pops up plant and bulb wise, and which parts lay damp/wet and which lay dry. It will help you long term doing this.

Provided that your daughters have somewhere to run, play and hide, everyone will be happy. I would also suggest that you make sure that your daughters understand the importance of safety and awareness around the pond.

Book wise, join your local libary, and see what they have to offer.

You may also get some ideas from this. http://www.gardenersworld.com/forum/garden-design/work-in-progress/1650.html

Work in Progress

Posted: 30/01/2012 at 22:44

Many thanks to everyone for the kind comments.

Sharon, here is how I constructed the swing.

The build cost was approx £60.00 to build for the whole thing. The main poles were discounted because they were too bent to sell, the seat was a piece of oak that had been thrown out and left in a big puddle, the brackets to hang the swing, chain and rope, were the only non scrap materials.




My helper!!!





Raised, bordered vegatable beds (Something to think about)

Posted: 29/01/2012 at 19:46

The material choice for the actual beds was 200mm x 47mm pressure treated timber, bought in  5.4m and 4.8m long lengths. 4.8m lengths were chosen as I wanted the beds to be 1.2m wide, and this length gave no wastage. 5.4 was chosen as I wanted some of the beds to be 2.7m long, so again no wastage. Once again pegs were 47mm x 47mm by 4.8m cut and pointed to 600m long lengths.

The first job was to paint them to help preserve the timber further. In hind sight this was a waste of time and money, as the paint turned out not to be UV resistant. It was fine below ground, but not above.


The bed system was constructed by first cutting the material to the chosen length and width, followed by screwing it together to form a bed shape. The bed was then aligned in position using a string line that had been off set. Steel pins were used to help keep the position of the bed, and a laser level was used to set the height. Each bed. Once I was happy with everything pegs were driven into the ground at approx 650mm centres, after having first made a hole with a steel bar. The pegs were banged in flush, screwed with 90mm screws and a back weather was then cut. I prefer to use screws over nails, as they can be adjusted, and also there is no risk of knocking pegs loose. When putting in the corner pegs, keep them approx 100mm away from the corner. There is a reason for this. I also found that whilst very long beds are lovely, a bed size of 1.8m x 1.2m seems to be the ideal.

Anyone thinking of doing a project such as this, take a look at the modular fruit cage/plant protection sizes first. It would be a shame to make your beds, then discover that protection is awkward to fit or adapt.



As the beds were being created, I also wanted to start the foot paths. A terram membrane was laid down first followed by hardcore, then compacted Fittleworth stone. Obviously anything from carpet to grass will work for pathways.




And this is the finished result.  




One problem that I feel all raised/bordered beds suffer from is rot and mould! Wood treated or un treated only has a limited life span when in contact with soil. With this in mind, one thing that I would recommend is that in winter, dig the soil away from the edges of the boarding on the beds that aren't being used. That is the reason for keeping the corner pegs in by approx 100mm. It gives you space to clean right into the corners, the other reason is that 100mm gives plenty of room to erect a fruit cage.

I am afraid that I am not the person to advise on soil make up etc, but slowly, I am removing the soil from each bed area to a depth of 450mm, sieving it and mixing it with sharp sand, then putting it back. It certainly makes a massive difference to the quality of root crops.


I shall write about the irrigation system next.


Discussions started by Eddie J

A few snow shots taken in the garden

Replies: 7    Views: 1670
Last Post: 26/04/2012 at 21:39

Raised, bordered vegatable beds (Something to think about)

Construction of 
Replies: 4    Views: 3283
Last Post: 26/04/2012 at 21:45

Work in Progress

Garden redevelopment 
Replies: 40    Views: 8622
Last Post: 05/10/2014 at 18:06
3 threads returned