Luckily, I managed to borrow the third best blade (of three blades) from work, attached it to the third best snath (of three snaths) and proceeded to lay into my shitty excuse of a garden. Ragwort, willow herb and nettle are now prostrate on the ground. The briars were a bit more of a pain in the arse, putting up a proper fight and trying to take chunks out of the ditching blade.. as did the horrific stoney ground, which it turns out, undulates like the very worst sort of pissed off serpent. There is also a good chunk of escaped raspberry cane and half buried chicken wire, snapped off posts and hoards of round bale netting wrap, which the previous owner apparently used to use as a sort of wadding to plug gaps underneath the chicken wire fence. Like all good Irish gardens, there are also areas with a healthy population of half buried broken bottles, lightbulbs and window panes with other miscellaneous bits of rubbish, primarily fertiliser bags and round-up bottles. Another thing about scything, is that you really get to know what fauna is going on within the stems and ground. I found out yesterday that my hilly expanse is almost entirely made of ants. Red AND black ones, flying AND the regular sort. I also have at least one vole, which is nice.
However, at least I can see the lay of the land now, at least in the area I’ll be working on first. I have already changed my plans of what to do and even have potentially, the space to home my 14 x 30 polytunnel (with a bit of mini-digger help). Doing something as simple as clearing a piece of land from weeds, goes a long way towards making a job a bit less daunting. Of course, scything doesn’t get rid of the root stocks, but it does afford you the opportunity to keep on top of things. I would love to say I will go the route of completely organic weed management.. but the reality is, when you’re faced with the epic-ness of getting a half acre of garden together single-handedly, sometimes you just have to consider heavy artillery, at least to begin with, before then paying attention to building up a beautiful soil structure (of which there is currently zero). Sometimes, you have to do a wrong thing to do ultimately, the right thing.