Posted in Catching Up

Catching Up #6: Half A Garden

Clio found the old strawberry patch as soon as it sprouted. Hidden under some bushes along the back fence they came back up from under various weeds, and she ate the little green fruits. I knew a wanted to put in a garden where there once was a garden, but now I knew there had to be some kind of dog barrier as well.

As chronicled in a previous post, the garden plot began it’s time with me as a sea of deep, leg-grabbing grasses that it took an entire summer to dig out, turning over a few hundred square feet of ground to expose roots and pull them out. Once my back and hands had recovered, I started leveling the area where the future garden would be. Using a shovel and a three-foot level, I threw mounds of dirt from the west part of the plot to the east where the ground sloped off away from the house. Along the way I dug up plant tags like little plastic fossils, and did some forensic reconstruction on what once must have been a pretty nice garden.

garden plot before building

We could talk about the Mulberry bush in that picture but for now let’s let it suffice to say that me and Mr. Mulberry had our time together at one point, and I won. You can also see in the picture that there was now a strip of bare earth where Magical Realist / Impressionist Lady once cultivated a nice landing strip of perfect mulch between the west “Xeri” area and the east “Garden” area. The excavations revealed that the Lady did not have dogs, because this was not a dog yard by any stretch. It was a yard meant to be looked at, not peed on and redistributed through random hole digging. As things went along I knew I was rebuilding some other kind of project – a living playground on top of an excavated Giverny of sorts.

So, earth roughly leveled, I purchased several Cedar posts from the HD and three eight-foot-long fence units. I squared off an area (against the outer perimeter fence) about 8 x 16 where the plot would be, then leveled that plot again by throwing dirt around and laying my level on the ground, sometimes laying the level on a 6 or 8-foot piece of lumber to get a broader feel for flatness. I now had a flat area that was square with the rest of the yard and house, satisfying my inner OCDmons. Demons. Get it? Right. (Gardening is great for people who have been rewarded with low-level OCD because it’s basically a complex task that is never fully complete and keeps regenerating through entropy, which if you have an OCDmon, is basically every single task, ever).

So then, the rest of the building process was simple: (1) roughly place the anchor posts at 8-foot intervals, leaving just a bit of wiggle room where the fence units will meet and be screwed into them; (2) put a long piece of lumber across the tops of the fence posts and level them off, so they’re all the same height; (3) backfill the fence posts and secure them in the ground, solidly, adjusting for square-ness and level-ness as you go. Posts in, now you can use your shiny new galvanized outdoor deck screws (don’t hold them in your mouth something on the box about the coating) to attach the fence units to the posts, making sure they are all level and just resting on the ground a little. It’s starting to look like something. Take a break, throw the ball for the dogs, have a coffee. You did good.

garden fence half with clio

The rest is just time and commitment. Posts, fence units, screws, leveling, dogs, coffee, trips to HD for more stuff. I had some ideas about making a gate, but not a fully formed plan yet. I decided just to finish off all of it except the end piece, then do some contemplating. It was coming together and winter was approaching (I started this process in July and it was late October now), so all in Good Time. Clio approved. Let’s let this thing settle in and start doing some late season pruning and cleaning. Good for now.

garden nearly all fenced

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Author:

Graphic designer / project manager / gardener living in Denver, Colorado.

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