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I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself right now. Today, we finally installed another water butt. Just a little one, nothing (some might say) to write home about particularly, but it is a real case of taking a problem and turning it to our advantage.

See, our neighbour's downpipe (from their gutter to the drain) had come adrift at the bottom. Broken. Every time it rained - and it's done that a lot this summer - the water comes gushing down that downpipe, fails to find the drain and instead runs down the bottom of her house and onto our sidewall.

We could have asked her to fix it, but I had a better idea. Because at the moment, I'm carrying water from the back of the house, through the house, on to the veg patch. So we spoke to her and asked if she'd mind if we put a water butt in place instead. The diverter fits over the roof end of the broken pipe, then inside the drain end of the pipe. It solves the leak. And now I have 100l of water available to me significantly nearer to the veg patch and the herb patch, and still have room for the bin. It looks quite neat.

Our wall is safe, we've not had to make demands on our neighbour, we have more water saved, and it only cost £30. Win all round I say!

My gorgeous girlfriend also made a start on our next big (huge? Enormous?) project - terracing the slope between the house and the veg patch. It's going to be hard, hard work. We need to dig in, so they form steps up to the veg patch, but we have some serious chalk to hack through. I'd like to grow more stuff in them, but GG's dug down to where we need to and it doesn't look great. We'll have to see what winter and some muck can do I think. I drew up my plans anyway for the patch next year. I'm starting to think slightly more year-round, but don't want to try too much - the soil's still a bit rubbish so I don't want to push my luck.

I've learnt some lessons this year. The peas were eaten, so I'm going to move those somewhere I can keep a very close eye on them, and my bean poles weren't stable enough for the wind. The sweetcorn didn't really work, but the squashes produced a few. The onions need something else to help them look good. Oatmeal seems to be the best (organic) slug protection I've found. In the back garden, I've learnt that my sunflowers need to be grown closer to the fence, sweetpeas are great, and nasturtiums taste great. It's all being put to bed by the change in seasons now, but next year's plans are coming together. It's great!

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