Summer Garden Construction

Reader Contribution by Nebraska Dave
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Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I put up a post here. The summer has really been passing by quickly. Gardening for me this year has been very minimal. Extreme weather all but eliminated the planting season in the spring and more extreme weather prevented replanting for the third time. Only the hardiest of plants survived the onslaught of weather. The summer has been unseasonably cool. It’s great for living with 80-degree days and 60-some-degree nights but not so good for warm weather gardening. The focus for me has been on garden structure and not so much on gardening this year.

The fence construction continues. The last fence panel is now up, which is not shown in this photograph and the last side of the garden will start being enclosed this next week. I’m not going to complete the fence before the corn is ready this year so I suspect the sweet corn will be raccoon food again this year. I’m confident that the fence will be completed before the ground freezes in October, which will make for a great garden next year.

Acquisition of building materials continues on Craig’s List. These railroad ties will be used in the development of the natural spring platform. I’m still brainstorming on how to actually develop the spring and have storage for water irrigation of Terra Nova Gardens. It seems that every month or two a new idea pops into my head about how to maximize the spring development. One of these years it will actually get done.

This is a rough idea of what the spring platform will look like. The two outside platform supports will be bridge supports. Two more railroad tie supports will be used to make the platform solid. The two pallets will be given additional support under the pallet planks. Then a floor using disassembled pallets will be screwed crosswise over the original pallet. When finished, the whole structure should be super strong and very solid. The stand pipe you see is a 10-foot pipe that has about 6 feet of water inside the pipe. It will eventually have a hand pump on the pipe for bucket water use.

Another summer acquisition was limestone rocks. A neighbor a couple blocks away replaced a limestone rock wall with the more modern concrete retaining wall blocks. Here you see the first of many loads of nice rocks. It was a great catch. I plan to use these rocks for raised bed borders at Terra Nova Gardens and maybe some of the bigger ones for the spring development.

Yes, sad to say that here is Terra Nova Gardens totally out of control and gone wild. It’s a constant battle to keep the land here under control. Just a month of neglect and you can see the result. There is hope that this can be once again tamed and brought under control for productive use. So much just didn’t get planted this year because of the extreme weather and the very wet (14 inches of rain) weather in June. We received an entire year’s worth of rain in June. What did get planted for the second time, as stated in previous posts, got whipped with wind, pounded with hail, and flash flooded with seven inches of rain. Check out “Storms, Storms, and More Storms,” and “Garden Challenges Continue.”

Here is Terra Nova Gardens under control. Three hours of work later out of control became under control. This is now and forever more known as Bed 1 at Terra Nova Gardens. The plan for now is to make this bed into a strawberry bed. The carpet you see is three seasons old and still in great shape. I cleaned it up a bit and will cover it with wood chips. I’m grinding up the dried-out brush pile along one side of the property to use for the wood chips. One thing I have learned about building gardens is to get the structure finished before starting to garden. I’ve been having to decide between gardening or building structure for two years. One will suffer at the expense of the other. I’m hoping this year will be a major step forward for the structure of Terra Nova Gardens.

The wild turkey bug patrol is on duty. In the three growing seasons at Terra Nova Gardens, wild turkeys have patrolled the area doing what they do best. They scratched through the mulch around the plants and managed to keep bugs under control. In fact I haven’t seen any bugs the last three years. My naturally wild bug control seems to be working. Imagine that. Nature wins again. I have no less than three feral cats that roam the property keeping rodents in check. I’d say nature is watching over Terra Nova Gardens. I know that I still have Nebraska Phil the groundhog living close to my property because I’ve seen burrow evidence. I fill it up and he cleans it out. However, he’s not been any problem to the garden that I know of. The woman across the street says that he devastated her garden last year. I’m not sure what’s up with that but I’ll just count it as a blessing.

Well, that’s kind of what I’ve been doing since my last post. I hope every one has had a very productive summer and that your harvest fills up every last space of the freezer and every last jar in the cupboard.

One last thing is about the prostate. All is good to go for Thursday, August 21. By noon I’ll be radiation hot for three months and then many more after that as the decay happens. It’s an out-patience procedure that will have very few side effects. I should be back to gardening after three or four days. Well, that’s the plan any way.

Have a great harvest everyone and I’ll catch you up in the next post.

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