Quick Update on Hole #2
Now that the summer monsoon is “over”, the level of precipitation has dropped back to merely 50% above normal. It kept raining through September, and by my gauge, we ended the month at 4.6″ which doesn’t sound like much to my Florida friends, but is actually 3.2″ above normal for the month. During the rest of the month, there wasn’t a day when the hole was dried out enough to work on, so I spent that time pruning the bushes & trees around the house. There always seems to be pruning to be done, so that was a good use of that time.
Once the hole finally dried out, I had to work fast to get the third layer of dirt out of the hole before more soakings.
So that’s what happened in September after the rains “stopped”. The sun came out, and the tomato plants went wild; you can see them at the left side of the picture. They completely outgrew their cages, and are now falling all over themselves making wonderful fruits. Good thing I love tomatoes! I mostly just eat them whole as soon as I pick them, with a little salt. Often, they don’t even get into the house. They’re small-ish, and I’m getting one or two ripe per day. Just enough for a nice snack!
With the tomatoes, I now also have a nice crop of hornworms. Thanks, guys! But really, I don’t even care; I can share with them, and then the number of ripe tomatoes never overwhelms me. I just wish they’d eat the tomatoes whole, instead of just eating half and then moving on. At first, I was picking off those half-eaten green tomatoes and throwing them out into the weeds. Now, I’m letting them get ripe too, before throwing them out. As far as I’m concerned, it would be great if the seeds could be viable and then to have a whole side crop of tomatoes just past the scrub line south of the garden. Then all the critters can have nice tomatoes!
Ooh! And another thing you can see in that picture is that I’ve uncovered the water line: the half-inch white PVC pipe along the near side of the hole. This is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that I now know where it is, and don’t have to worry anymore about stabbing it with the caliche bar while digging. The bad news is that it’s 4″-8″ from the west edge of the bed, 4″ below the surface and therefore a planned 20″ above the bottom of the hole, so it will be hanging out there in space for the whole time the hole is empty — which won’t be that long, but still… Being honest with myself, the odds that I will step on it or trip over it or fall on it or somehow crash into it while working in the hole are higher than I would like, which is to say higher than they would have been 25 years ago. And breaking the pipe while it’s hanging there in space will almost certainly leave a jagged, cracked pipe-end that will be just more trouble down the road. I’m almost reconciled to sawing it off now and re-working it later for irrigation duty.
The little patch of weeds at the top corner of the hole is what’s left of this year’s wild purslane. I haven’t seen more than three white-lined sphinx moth caterpillars this summer, and had the purslane all to myself this year. I haven’t seen a single one of those moths, either. I hope they’re OK.
The short edge of the hole at the lower right is the south side. There are two feet between the edge and the fence there. In previous pictures, the shadow of the fence didn’t reach the hole, and you can see how far it has moved near midday when I take the pictures. Soon after, the shadow of the house falls across the hole, making it cooler to work on, but more difficult to get good pictures that show the depth detail I’m trying to illustrate. The temperature may still be in the mid- to upper 80s(F), but autumn is definitely here.
The wheels on the garden cart have been replaced, and I got solid rubber ones this time rather than the pneumatic tires that were original. I was a little worried that the rigid tires would not roll as well across my yard, but that turned out not to be a problem. I guess it would be if rolling across a softer surface, but no part of my yard, even the gravel parts, are “soft” in any way, heh. And so, here is the dirt pile, which now has nine cart-loads of dirt.
Oh yeah, and three guesses what the weather did today?