Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Garden Wars; Attack of the Gophers

The gopher is a worthy adversary. I have taken the garden to a new defense level- wire mesh. Underground. Why so extreme? I would never have believed it myself,  so I took this video of a gopher munching on a corn stalk and dragging it underground:

Last year, I had 20 tomato plants, each about 4 feet high. 19 of them disappeared. The silver lining of our COVID19 economic downturn is that I got furloughed for a week. I'm very blessed. Many people are suffering right now. Most folks are at least bummed that they have a week off and nowhere to go. Not me! I will never run out of projects. This week, I chose to dig up my garden and lay down 1/2" wire mesh, stitched together like a shallow box with no lid, then put the garden back down on top of it.
My little vegetable garden is 10'x20'. I dug down one foot, so 7.4 yards or 5.66 m^3. At 76 lb/ft^3, that's 7.6 tons. Since it had to be moved twice, thats 15.2 tons, just short of the mucker's daily quota of 16 tons, according to our very entertaining tour guide at the Molly Catherine gold mine. Respect.  It took me about 4 days, though. Of course that includes probably about 4 hours of hand-stitching with wire, as well as naps in the hammock.
I dug right down to the level of our water main, 1-inch copper. To protect the pipe,  I split 1-inch PVC in half and covered the copper before laying down the galvanized steel mesh. My favorite  tool for cutting PVC is the band saw. To keep the cut straight and prevent the tube from twisting too much as I cut the 10-foot piece lengthwise,  I made a riving knife out of scrap slotted steel angle.

I cut the wire mesh with aviation shears and folded the sides up and folded a 3-inch flange out around the top. At the corners, I stitched the sides together.
Now I need to get busy planting again.

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