Who ever thought heaving a huge concrete trough from its resting place could leave a warm glow of satisfaction at the end of a frosty December wednesday? This afternoon- (12/12/12), four volunteers met up at Whalley Forest Garden project, situated on a curious piece of triangular land, wedged between the Clitheroe-Whalley railway and the busy A59 bypass. Whalley Forest Garden initiator, Chris Gathercole and eager and able bodied volunteers Trevor, Thomas and Charlie, took on the afternoon tasks with great energy and cheer.
Our first task was to replace one of the tree guards which restricted a plum tree’s branches with a more tree-friendly tree guard which enables the branches to grow more as they would like to- outwards instead of upwards. Let’s hope our new tree guard keeps the roe deer at bay!
Our next task was to go back to the bottom of the garden to the handy green shipping container with all the tools. We began spading in some compost in the wheelbarrows and commenced the heart pumping climb to the top of the garden. Equipped with a cro-bar, spades, pick-axe and mattock, we soon dumped our compost on newly planted tree mounds and marched up to the top of the Forest garden, where a large concrete trough lay waiting. It was overturned and we worked out that it must have been in this position since at least 1971 when the road by which it stood was built.
Chris explained to us that he had ordered a fig tree for the garden and wanted to plant it in the trough as fig trees grow better and fruit more when their roots are restricted.
Off came the jackets, and Trevor made the first deep cuts into the earth with the spade and began the process of shifting the soil from the edges which had built up by at least 20 inches over the years. It soon became clear that this was not a straight forward task, and I think we all began to feel this was a job for another day, or couldn’t we just bring a digger and move it? But determined, we persisted.
Inch by inch, cm by cm, we wedged, heaved and hammered away until just as the light was fading, gravity chose our side, and we over-turned it to great elation all around.
To see a few of the photos of the process check out Whalley Forest Garden facebook page here:http://www.facebook.com/WhalleyForestGarden