I’ve been doing a bit of reusing and recycling this week in preparation for seed sowing. It sounds simple to put a few seeds into containers but I have a lot of preparation work to do first. Firstly I have to get into the garage and find some plant pots and propagation trays; this means having to do a job I have put off since moving house last October...tidy. It isn’t just a tidy up though, on a scale of 1-10 this is a big 10. All winter the family have been rooting around the boxes and containers looking for things and as the boxes are emptied they are seldom packed up again, things just get thrown everywhere. Add to this the dogs making beds out of our winter coats and the guinea pig throwing straw about and it’s a pretty bleak scene.
Three days later and I have emerged from the garage. I have four piles of things. Keep and reuse, recycle, charity shop and burn in the fire. The ‘keep and reuse’ pile ranges from tools to old bits of carpet, which is quite straight forward. The recycle and charity shop boundary is a bit vague though. Some of the recycling things like old metal will be going to the recycling centre but things like clothes are a different matter. I have the choice of dumping my three bin liner bags full into the clothes bank at the recycling centre, sending them to the charity shop or taking them to a place on the Springtown Industrial estate in Derry where I can get 60p per kilo for clothes and shoes, and 20 per kilo for old bedding. I don’t need to tell you where they are going. The charity shop will be getting my old video tapes and a few ornaments.
The old gas cooker in the corner of the garage needs to go. All of the connectors would decay quickly if not used so I need to find a new home for it. Scrap values for anything metal are very high at the moment so I could take it to the scrapyard along with a couple of old car batteries I have, but the cooker is only about 6 years old so I want to find a home for it. I did try advertising it for sale on Donedeal a month or two ago but got no response. I remembered a set up called Freecycle, this is a worldwide group where you can give away or ask for things you need in your local community. We have two groups locally in Donegal and Derry and there is also an offshoot of the scheme called Freegle which formed after the UK Freecycle split from their American founders. I joined the Derry group and put the cooker on it. Within an hour a very nice lad had collected the cooker and said he would make good use of it, now I am not sure if he meant because he was going to use it or take it to the scrapyard and get a few euro for it. I didn’t like to ask.
The garage is clear and I resume my search for the pots and propagators only to realise that I have left them all behind in the old house, which has been totally cleared. Oh well, it’s not like I am potting on an industrial scale so the old dog chewed pots we have blowing around the garden will have to do.
As I was organising the garage, Julie was buying some vegetable seeds and also managed to get pea, beans and courgette seeds from her dad who always has some left over after planting. We don’t really have a workspace for potting up the seeds so I made good use of the top of an old chest of drawers that I haven’t chopped up yet for burning. With the use of an old fence panel and a branch I lopped off the sycamore tree I quickly make a very sturdy work table in the garden that is ideal for potting up and housing the seedlings. Hopefully the dogs will keep of it for long enough to let them germinate.
I realise now though that we haven’t really got a place ready for the vegetables. We have a small section cleared of weeds and old roots but the soil is quite poor. I did remember to bring large bags of compost from the old house so we can dig those in soon; we also have fresh compost in the bins that we can put in trenches for the peas and beans to grow on. It’s all “Just in Time Management “in the garden at the moment which is expected as it’s our first year in the new place. Exciting stuff!