Beginning May 18, 2018, with a freshly tilled canvas of soil, the trellises, including the bottle gourd “arch,” were the first items to go into the garden before creating the fencing. Once those were staked in place, rebar stakes were added around the perimeter at four feet apart. Instead of using heavy-duty kite string, I found a more economical poly string for the four layers of fencing, leaving one small opening for me. After the stakes and string were up, I added the milk jugs and pie tins to scare off furry critters (appears to be working), and I found a locally made sweet fence created from tobacco stakes sourced from Tennessee to cover my small opening.
A little tidbit about the “arch” - I first zip tied three sections of 8’ x 4’ cow panels thinking it would all form a beautiful arch. Nope. Instead, it formed a saggy-centered, unstable, pergola-ish monstrosity that my son and I were battling to maintain in place, while trying not to lose our front teeth. Plan B used just two panels to form more of a trident shaped bottle gourd trellis secured with four rebar stakes, and the third panel will support vertically grown watermelons. Placement also changed slightly from the original plan – no real reason except it just seemed to work better.
For six days, working in rainy weather and around the day job, the greenhouse plants, flats of herbs and marigolds, and seeds were carefully planted. It took many hours and evening baths with Epsom salts so I could move the next day. Then, just before Memorial Day weekend, I hit a brick wall. I have allergies. Not just run-of-the-mill allergies, full blown antibiotic-necessary messes I manage to get myself into about once a year because I forget to wear a mask pulling weeds, while dusting the house, or while being exposed to any amount of sickness-inducing airborne particles. I did manage to get the straw down under the tomatoes and then carried it through to a few paths to keep the weeds at bay. I am also watering very early every morning due to the unrelenting heat – watering the entire 3000 square feet by hand as a sprinkler is too harsh on all the seedlings that have been planted. Doctor’s orders, my new gardening “look” rivals Claude Rains in “The Invisible Man” – hat, sunglasses, and mask. I should be enough to scare everything away!
The best news of all - almost everything planted May 18-23, is coming up. No sign of sweet corn yet but all of the squashes including the bottle gourds, cut flower sections, radishes, peas, cucumbers, lettuces, sunflowers – almost everything started from seed is sprouting! I have already harvested basil and frozen a batch of pesto. Wonderfully scattered asparagus that survived tilling has been used in two meals, many pepper plants have peppers starting and my greenhouse-started tomatoes have flowers with zero sign of thrips.
I am a little nervous with four frolicking rabbits around the yard so the banging pie tins, carefully placed skewers, and Shake Away repellant better work! Stay tuned, the updates will be plentiful from now until fall!