Great Day to Plant the Garden

Reader Contribution by Angela Pomponio
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They say it takes a village. In the case of our 58-foot by 112-foot garden fence, it takes any combination of three sets of arms, determination and some cursing to raise the deer protection. At 6-1/2 feet tall, with 47 eight-foot-long treated 4×4’s each buried 24 inches into our clay ground, the arithmetic is simple: 2 days of endless work + late dinners + friends (infinite kindness) = 0.16 acre of dream and self sufficiency.

The soil looked fluffy and promising after two hours of tilling, 10 old straw bales, 10 wheelbarrow loads of chicken bedding and every ounce of compost we have made in 10 months time. After a week of intermittent rain and a couple of tractor cross navigations it’s looking a bit clumpy. I can attest to the need for lifelong amendment after driving stakes yesterday for garden beds. The clay underneath has not ever been turned and the ground had been grazed by lifestock for generations.

We had one of those thunderstorms last night that dwarf you in their scope and racket. The forecast calls for temps in the 50’s and more intermittent rain until the sunny weekend.  I have my four year old and a loaner 5 year old for the day, my seeding team.  I have the grade school and teenaged boys of a fresh mama friend for the night tonight.  Plan for the day:  plant that garden and tonight is chicken moving day.  Between fencing the big garden, we threw up a temporary fence around the big new chicken coop to move the flock to nocturnally lockable housing in response to our weasel issues.

I reinforced the field fencing with zip ties and every scrap of chicken wire I could scrounge up after our baby turkeys let themselves out and went for a walkabout. Now my survivor of the original 15 turkeys, Gloria, is playing mommy to the 5 younger turkeys, 6 chicks and a couple of pullets.

The rain is welcome considering my urgency in getting this garden in so late and the fact that next weekend is the earliest our graywater irrigation system might be going in.  Every project is delayed by finance (or lack of more specifically), my husbands busy work schedule and reality.  The simplicity of a project clearly has nothing to do with the ease of accomplishing a useful result.

What I did learn this weekend is this: Steps 1-19 are MEASURE!!! Dom’s insistence on measuring, remeasuring and squaring assured us an incredibly straight fence and no material (ie: budget) surprises. The rest is simple: Keep at it and support each other like you do the posts. Without your village a fence is just an idea and a pile of materials. I am so thankful for that fence and the family of friends that showed up to help build it. If my gardening skills prove disasterous, at least I can house my village inside those walls.

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