Removing the old shed

The fate of the old shed was the subject of robust discussion here at Quest for Veg HQ.

On the one hand, although it was structurally dodgy, it did provide a place to store the few items we wanted to keep out of the rain.

On the other, it was structurally dodgy. Getting rid of it while we have help would mean that we could start with a blank canvas.

In the end, it was probably as well that we got rid of it when we did because it was far more structurally dodgy than we had realised. It was probably only the well-established ivy cover that was holding it up. And the ivy had to go.

Mini digger expertise was very kindly provided by Richard Anderson of Anderson Landscapes. And we are grateful to Elisa Contreras (The Secret Garden) for her continued hard work in helping to clear the plot.

Our thoughts now turn to the shed versus greenhouse debate!

A closer look at the shed

While we’re clearing the plot, it makes sense to assess the shed and decide whether it can be saved.

It is a quirky little structure with a steeply pitched roof. Covered in ivy, it looked charmingly rustic.

The quirky, ivy-covered shed we inherited

It didn’t take long to notice that the floor was rotten in parts.

The shed floor is rotten in parts

But it was not until Elisa from The Secret Garden managed to clear the ivy from one side that we were able to see the state of it. The first surprise is that it has windows all the way round – far more than a normal shed.Unfortunately, it has a few other less welcome features.

The roof has both wet rot and dry rot:

Dry rot on the roof

The walls are very wet and marked, and they move if you apply any pressure.

The roof and walls of the shed are showing serious signs of damp

One thing we did notice is that a roof panel seems to have the fittings usually used to hold a window open.

Ivy growing inside the shed

It was then that Andrew had a flash of inspiration. The reason the shed is the shape it is, with its steeply pitched roof, and has so many windows all round, is that it probably started life as a greenhouse.

Having had a chance to have a good look round, we are coming to the conclusion that it has been neglected for too long for us to be able to save it. It seems a shame not to be able to continue to give it a further lease of life. But we think it has gone beyond saving. By the time we replace the floor, the roof and the walls, we’ll have a new shed! As we had both began to warm to this quirky little structure we were somewhat reluctant to agree to say goodbye to it, although it will probably make a good bonfire.

A sad day.

Immovable objects and a rotten shed

At this stage, we’ve got all the roots out and have made two piles of material which we are hoping to burn – the ash will be good for the soil.

Elisa and Rodney, from The Secret Garden,  arrived with a good collection of tools. Here’s a selection of their forks!


Rodney attacked the larger of the mystery concrete posts. You can see in the film that he’s dug a couple of feet down all the way around it, and still it refuses to move!

From what we have uncovered so far, there are three layers of concrete (there may be more underneath that). So, it looks like someone has put concrete down, let it dry, put another layer of concrete down, let that dry, then put a final layer of concrete down and sunk the posts into it. The posts themselves are very solid looking pieces of wood held together with a substantial bolt.

There are no obvious signs of something being attached to the posts – no other bolt holes, etc. There is also another a smaller concrete post about a metre nearer to the fence.

What on earth the posts were or why someone put them there, we have no idea.

We have also started pulling the ivy off the shed. It looks homemade rather than being a bought shed and there are windows all the way round. So, someone has obviously been growing something in it, or at least planned to.

But, having uncovered more of it, it looks like bad news. We knew that some of the floor was rotten, and it looks like the eaves have both wet and dry rot. We’ll show more on the shed another day but I think it’s safe to say, we’ll probably need a new one.

One of the difficulties about clearing round the shed, is the bank at that end of the site. The shed is surrounded by what may have been compost heaps. It certainly contains a fair amount of rubbish as Elisa discovered:

Elisa pulls a broken piece of corrugated plastic from the bank surrounding the shed