New shelves

I have new shelves! Some months ago I decided I needed to replace the dark wood bookcase on my desk with something in white (to lighten up the corner), with space for taller things (to clear out the untidy heaps of file folders on my floor), that was fixed to the wall (to free up some desk space). Here is the Before shot:

Shot of left-hand side of desk, with dark wood bookcase standing on it against the wall)

Desk (out of shot: untidy heap of files on floor)

I didn’t want to buy new wood for this, so I was on the lookout for something to reuse. Plan A involved some scaffolding board (transported from Limehouse by trike), but when I got it home, it seemed a bit too thick. Plan B came about when I found a stack of 1″ thick wood abandoned beside a bin. Sanded down and cut to size, they did the job admirably. White paint we had already (a tester pot of Holkham Linseed white, which is lovely to use and non-toxic, but does take forever to dry), and we have a pot full of miscellaneous reclaimed/acquired screws from which I found sufficient for the brackets. I did have to buy the brackets themselves, and the rawlplugs were new.

In the process of putting them up I learnt something about measuring for mitred corners, specifically, that it pays to be a bit more careful when marking the position for the second set of boards. Getting someone else in to help hold the shelves while I marked up would have helped. The long and short boards are also very slightly different widths, but it’s not obvious, and I’m pleased with the outcome anyway.

Same desk, less stuff on the desk, white shelves fixed to the walls above the back left corner of the desk
Lighter and tidier

(The untidy area on the floor now houses a different set of miscellany, but one step at a time…)

Cold frame from scrap (pt 2)

Last week I finished my small cold frame for the balcony.

It took very little extra work, in fact: I just had to cut an appropriately-sized chunk off one of the 2m2 pieces of polycarbonate I brought home on my bike trailer a fortnight ago:

(Another demonstration of the truth of my long-held belief that you can transport pretty much anything with a bike.  Six miles — albeit quite slow ones — from Dulwich to Bermondsey and I didn’t have to stop and retie it even once.  I was very pleased.   NB: the polycarb wasn’t touching the ground at the end when the trailer (a Carry Freedom Large — fantastic piece of kit) was properly attached to the bike.)

The jigsaw went through the polycarb with no bother at all, and I taped the edges up with gaffer tape.  To get some air into the frame,  I’m using part of one of the planks I cut up for the slanted top: the polycarb lid just rests on it at the back.  I haven’t bothered to make hinges; I’ll rethink that if the lid doesn’t stay put.

Next plans: slightly bigger cold-frame for the table of herbs outside on the balcony, and much bigger one for the allotment.  Currently in the allotment there are three rows of various sorts of greens under mini-cloches (cut the top off a one-litre juice bottle), so the cold frame needs to be built before they outgrow the cloches.

Greenery for the winter: cold frame from scrap (pt1)

In my ongoing quest to reduce food miles by growing more greenery I have spent an hour or so building a small cold frame for the balcony.  It’s not quite finished yet (I have a huge piece of clear polycarbonate that I need to saw into pieces so I can use part of it for the cold frame top), but the frame itself now exists.

The best bit is that it’s made from 100% reclaimed bits.  The base is a wine box that I got from my parents (sadly by the time it reached me it was empty of wine).

The part of the top that gives it a slope (so it’ll catch the sun better) is made from planks reclaimed from a pallet. The pallet was part of a very small pile of wood left after Climate Camp, part of which I took home*.  I saved the nails as I took them out when dismantling the pallet, and enough of them were straightish that I could use them for this project. The measuring, sawing to size (including sawing the diagonals), and nailing together took under an hour: much quicker than I’d expected.

I was going to use a couple of pieces of dowel to hold the two sections together, but it seems pretty stable without. An old compost bag is providing a lining. 

The picture shows it on the balcony in its temporary “on top of the wormery” location.  (I need to rearrange the balcony space a bit.) The pots have rocket and bronze arrowhead lettuce seeds in: the hope is that the cold frame will keep the plants going over the winter & I’ll be able to keep having salads.  We shall see!

Part 2: cutting the top and finishing the cold frame.

* Technically doop took them home, as he was the one towing the bike trailer all the way down Blackheath Hill with 30kg or so of wood on it.