It was now time to get cultivating. The first job was to examine the soil and decide how to make it productive. To call it soil is somewhat of an overstatement. It's a red, sandy and very stony substance that you would normally drive on in this area.
Ever the optimist, Margaret collected a sample and tested it with the little litmus type kit she'd bought with her from UK (bless !!). She declared that all was OK as it tested alkaline so we'd have no worries. I thought it best at this stage not to point out the possible concerns I had about working it and persuading it to retain a few molecules of water.
What resources were available ? One hombre (me), nearing retirement age (and having avoided anything mildly athletic during all of my previous years), and no tools. The obvious thing to do was to go out and find a spade and fork. Seemed reasonable !!
I decided the first thing to do was to turn over a patch big enough to get something (anything) growing. To this end, I marked out an area of about 20sqm beside the house, shovelled up the hoggin that had been laid on top of he weed barrier which I then ripped up and then set about burning off the weeds that had grown though it. No, weed barrier does not work !!
This was when my suspicions were confirmed. We were not looking at the Alan Titchmarch method here. My lovely new spade and fork just bounced off the surface. I might as well have tackled the weeds with nail scissors. So, it was off to the local co-operative shop again for a pick axe and a mattock (I think they are known as azadas in UK).
Best few quid I ever spent. I've never come across a tool that's so versatile and cost effective. Go here
to read someone elses opinion.