Just a tinge of fall is in the air. Some of the tree leaves are starting to fall from the trees. The garden plants are definitely passed their prime. The season continues to be a month ahead of the normal seasonal schedule for this area. The extreme heat seems to be over. The day time temperatures range in the middle 80s and the night time temperatures are consistently in the 50s. It makes for very slow ripening of tomatoes.
School is back in session so more time can be given to yard and garden projects. A much neglected back yard will welcome a grooming and perhaps a bath. It's been a long hot summer and all the yards have taken on the grunge look. Only rain can bring the lawns back from zombie land. We have only had about 1.5 inches of rain since June 20th. Rain is still desperately needed through out the midwest.
This my friends is supposed to be the mighty Platte River. Every year it does show many sand bars but this looks like the desert. The weather folks are labeling this as a flash drought. It's like some one just turned off the rain on June 20th.
I have been actively hauling water to Terra Nova Gardens until just a couple weeks ago. Some of you will remember that Terra Nova Gardens has a natural spring on the property. A decision was made to dig out the spring and see just how much water it would produce.
This is a ground level look at the spring with all the brush and weeds cleared away. It appears that someone has been trying to fill up the spring with brush, rocks, and (big sigh) trash. Many sticks, bricks, chunks of concrete and plastic bags were pulled out of the pit while being dug.
Here you can see a good portion dug out with water filling up the pit. This pit is about three foot deep and has a foot of water in it when this picture was taken. The dimensions are some what odd but I figure just this part will hold some where around 300 gallons of water. I am determined to dig out a section about five feet wide and six feet long. The end result will hold some where between 800 and 900 gallons of water. The plan is to build a platform over the pit and pump the water out with an old fashioned hand farm pump. The cost to sink a well here would not cost much but then I would have to involve city hall for well permits and water testing and who knows what else. I'm hoping to circumvent all that by just digging a pit, letting it fill with water, and pumping it out for garden use only.
Here you might see only a dirty old mud hole but I see a water source to water the entire garden. Over the next years many improvements will keep this garden an oasis without the hauling of water. The watering method now is crude with the use of only a five gallon bucket and a 32 ounce soft drink glass from the gas station. The water temperature is very cool which confirms to me that it is a direct feed from a spring. I'm excited about this asset for the garden.
The gate is finished and has been set in place. It doesn't have hinges or any of the needed 2X2s to fit up against. It does look nice to have a gate for next year's garden. It was fun fitting a 6 1/2 foot X 8 foot gate into a 4 foot X 6 foot pickup box. It was just left hanging out over the sides and strapped down. The trip to the garden was without excitement of any kind. I'm thinking that should be critter proof.
I've been thinking. I hear you thinking, "Oh no." Yeah, it's always trouble when old gardener Dave is thinking. This is the view standing at the garden gate and looking toward the south. My land goes to the big bushy tree in the right of the picture. The property you see past that tree has almost five years of unpaid taxes and a lien of $218.00 for city weed control against the property. It sure would be a good place for some pumpkins, squash, and water melons. There are three options to pursue gardening this property.
1. It's owned by a fellow up in Montana and he probably don't care what's happening with the property. I can pay the back taxes and the lien on the property to start the process of what's called a Sheriff's deed. The land owner then gets notified and he has the option of paying me back with interest at any time during the next two years. After two years, if the owner hasn't paid me back then the county will issue me a clear deed to the property. Two years is a long time to wait.
2. I could wait for the property to go into foreclosure and buy it from the city. The same two year wait is in the process if they decide to foreclose. Who knows when the county will decide to foreclose on this property.
3. Option three is not exactly on the up and up but I can't believe any one would complain. It's called gorilla gardening. That's when the land is gardened without permission. I figure the neighbors in the area wouldn't complain because the weeds will be kept down. The guy in Montana won't complain because no more weed liens will be put against the property. The city won't complain because they won't have to cut the weeds. It's a win for everyone. If someone does complain, well, no worries, just leave it go and the critters will eat up the evidence. :0)
Have a great fall everyone. Let me know how your garden did this year. I'm still trying to give away tomatoes.