As soon as we got the news about Lockdown we suddenly realised our neglect of the garden was a blessing in disguise and we had a nice big project to keep us busy.
We are still missing fence panels from the big storms earlier in the year and were too embarrassed to take pictures of how bad it really was. The first day saw us pressure washing the patio and sorting out the lawn.
When this was sorted we could think about what we wanted to do with the rest of the space, we thought that planting up some vegetables would be a nice thing to do.
I’ve never had green fingers, despite growing up in a family of green grocers, and I've always wanted to learn more.
I have been running Ultimate Stag Weekends for two years and every time I'm butchering a deer with a group, I think about how far removed we are from our food and where it comes from. People struggle to comprehend that what they see in the butchers actually started life jumping around a field.
People stockpiling food a few weeks ago, freezing two months worth of chicken dippers, just strengthens my belief that as a nation we are too reliant on the supermarkets to keep us fed.
I want my daughter to live in a world where she knows where vegetables come from and she can understand the magic of planting a seed, caring for plants then enjoying the fruits of her labour.
Jen and Skye set to work making this happen, sowing our first ever seeds while I tackled the problem of not having anywhere to sit in the evenings. We lose sun very early in our little corner of Dorset, the patch that stays warm the longest was completely overgrown with dead willow and bushes.
The first challenge was recycling centres closing! What can I do with the garden waste? I have spent far too long relying on landfill and council services dealing with my waste to ever think about where it goes.
As a short term solution I've prepared as much as possible for burning and created a hanging system to Dry and then burn the bulky stuff. The rest of the weed matter will have to wait for us to come up with a decent composting system later down the line.
With the detritus cut back and equipped with a spade, axe and pruning saw I spent a day levelling and sieving to save our precious topsoil for the veg patches (as well as keeping Skye entertained).
We then had to get creative with materials so on our daily exercise into the woods we carefully harvested a load of green hazel to make pegs with. Which enabled me to get the membrane down and suntrap up and running.
As I get up today I'm excited to get back out there and continue the next phase....
Words and photos by Alex Mortimer