The elevated bin.
GARDENING WHEN Pete Young lost a leg below the knee he was forced to look at different ways of going about just about every facet of his daily life.
But one element that he is determined will never, ever, change — even if the sawbones lops off both limbs above the knee — is his beloved allotment.
Pete’s prosthetic lower limb allows him to get on with most things, although weeding is made even more problematic than for the more able-bodied allotment holder.
This year he has 20-something varieties of tomato on the go and, quite literally, hops to it whenever he gets the chance to do a bit of veg growing, all the time looking for labour-saving "wrinkles" to make tasks easier.
He also has the allotment holder’s eye for recycling whenever he can, and the march of the wheelie bin across the Island provided a good opportunity to do just that.
It left Pete with a couple of those old oblong black Biffa bins on his hands, which have subsequently been replaced.
And in true rubbish company style Peter took the reduce, re-use, recycle mantra in hand.
The redundant black bins, of which there must be many thousand across the Island, come complete with drainage holes, and make ideal growing tubs.
Tip one upside-down and balance the other on it and you have a perfect raised growing tub that Pete can reach easily, but which those pesky carrot fly cannot, thus answering recent queries from readers about what can be done.
Scott Newman, from Wroxall, doesn’t grow veg, but he e-mailed me the other day to suggest the containerised solution, chiming with what Pete has already done.
"I believe I’m right in saying that if you plant your carrots in containers, at least 2ft from the ground, the flies don’t venture to the dizzy heights — so leaving your carrots unscathed," says Scott.
"Good luck in your quest to foil this bug’s errant destruction of gardeners’ toil."
Well, the quest may have ended, cheaply and easily, with the chance meeting with Pete in the supermarket and a TV programme on the late, great, Jimi Hendrix…
He may have played Voodoo Chile on that programme but it clearly sowed the seeds in my mind in more than one way because I bought, on impulse, a packet of Purple Haze carrots produced by Thompson and Morgan.
I have utilised Pete’s idea, and, given good germination in these chill, wet conditions, we shall see whether the feeble-winged fly will be able to flap its way over the top.
I’ve sown the entire packet in the recycling tub because the thinnings make an excellent, tasty snack.
This particular carrot, as the name on the pack suggests, is a purple-skinned variety of intense colour, which it retains on the outside, if steamed. On the inside there is lovely contrast with the orange centre.
It’s best eaten raw, though, and this F1 hybrid is especially rich, T&M tell me, in antioxidants.
Utilising the recycling message I used some old polystyrene washing mach-ine packings to bulk out the lower section of tub and some spent compost from last year, which should reduce the risk of roots forking in too rich a medium.
It will also hold its moisture, which is important both for germination and for the best quality roots, which should look, and taste, good, in a summer salad — or at least in a salad because it doesn’t look as though we will get both sun and veg.
• Any other gardening uses for those old black bins? I can be contacted at email@example.com or at the County Press on 01983 522210 ext 146.