We have had two sessions of digging up the weeds and grass clumps around the picnic area to make space for wildflowed seeds. Today we should be completing the project.
Our host Kristina will meet us by the tools shed at the James Backhouse Place gate.
Don’t forget your gardening gloves.
Please stay only with your group while at the task.
The lovely Kristina had asked for our help with the many many compost bins that line West Bank Park. This was deemed a double-size task so we had two completely separate teams meeting at different times to receive their instructions.
Team 6:30 with Ellie gave us this report:
The task was to turn over 4 out of 5 of the compost bins of leaves, and harvest the lovely compost from the final bin (after removing a layer of leaf litter). Barbara, Tom and Kay volunteered to go in one bin, described as “squishy” and “a trampoline” and quickly began turning over the sections in a methodical cycle. Tom then started harvesting the compost from one section of the second bin, which Abi had dutifully scraped the top layer of fallen leaves from, and barrowed it back to the park entrance to be used elsewhere. Meanwhile, Ellie turned over the the other half of the bin, making an increasingly big pile at one end (with Abi’s help). Eventually the midges got to be too much and when there was more swatting and itching than digging, it was time to call it a day.
Meanwhile team 6:45 were at the opposite end of the park.
We had 3 triple bins overflowing with grass cuttings from the bowling green, 5 forks, 3 rakes, 1 wheelbarrow, 1 set of grabbers and 1 Jack Russell. Our task was the turn the compost as best we could, mixing the grass-heavy matter with further leaves from the bays by the playground to give a better composition.
Amy C decided it would be quite nice not to work with Ed for a change, so Amy T drew the short straw and proceeded to show him exactly how it was done. She rapidly had one bay half-turned, whilst Ed pawed feebly at the top of his with little impact. Laura and Amy C headed up to the next set of bays and set to as well, no doubt also making much better progress than Ed.
This left Debs awaiting a tardy Michael (a role-reversal from normal; some excuse about picking up children), so it was decided to go and collect some leaf deliveries for the other bays before starting on our own. Fortunately he arrived just in time to learn that leaf grabbers pick up dry leaves brilliantly, but are poor at partly degraded ones. However the one fork we did have (pitchfork-gardenfork crossover) was brilliant, and showed itself to be the tool of choice for all tasks. We deposited a barrow of leaves to each pair, with the difference in effectiveness between Amy T and Ed only becoming more apparent. Laura and Amy C were well underway and seemed to have a nicely heterogenous compost mix already, but Michael dumped some leaves there anyway to be safe.
We finally started attacking our 3rd trio of bays, and felt the impact of only having one fork. With practice though we perfected the technique of raking off the grass, turning the compost with the mega fork, then alternating putting the materials back in as well as mixing with the bays to the side. A lot of the time it appeared we were just making a mess, but it was in fact effective. No organic matter was thrown at any persons honest, but let's just say that Michael's aim is rubbish.
Fergs did his best supervisor role, alternating between the different bays, and auditing them for quality. At bay 2 the tops of the piles were carefully inspected, whilst down at bay 3 he kindly took care of any stray sticks that had erroneously made their way into the compost. With time approaching Kristina was wondering whether people needed to stop, but we convinced her that if we didn't tell them it would be ok... That extra 10 minutes meant that practically all bays were turned successfully and (almost) tidied back up again, leaving not too much for the follow-up volunteers to tackle. A quick group shot later, and we headed back to the hut to put the tools away. Much compost was removed from inside shoes, and once again Ed made a mess all over the path. Typical.
Side note; a distanced Mitch collected some waders for work, and this lead somehow to a discussion about whether it was better to be functional or a peacock. No surprise whatsoever that Ed is most definitely a peacock.
Eight Goodgymmers. Two tasks.
Team A (Babs, Katie and Cara) were tasked with removing the dog grille and filling up the hole it left behind with hardcore. Amongst their tools were some javelin sized crow bars for levering up the grille, tampers, shovels, a wheelbarrow and some brooms to sweep the basket ball courts if there was time.
Meanwhile, Team B ( Paul Kelly, Laura, Tom, Leanne, and Kieran - when he eventually found the way to the park) set to work on digging up roots around the picnic area to make a bed for pollinator seeds to be planted at a later date.
Are we going for quality or quantity? (Laura)
As a seasoned Goodgymmer, she should have known better - it's always quantity over quality!!
The Grillsters were quick to finish their work and took it upon themselves to edge the basketball court, as well as sweep it. They still had time to play on the confusing outdoor gym equipment, perhaps thanks to some of the Weedsters setting down their spades and forks to help move the heavy dog grille out of the way. Even so, the Weedsters certainly met their 'quantity' goal and filled up four one tonne sacks with roots and dragged them over to the compost heap on their way back to the tool shed.
With a job well done we set off into the sunset on our respective journey's home.