Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Electric!

Corn, barley, oats and buckwheat require a lot of space, as do winter squash, pumpkins and melons.  So, I have a garden in our field.  The first year this garden yielded 160 dozen ears of corn, 85 butternut squash, 50 pumpkins, twenty muskmelons, many watermelons and several 5-gallon buckets of winter wheat that Karen made into flour, not to mention gobs of green beans, peas and I forget what else.  Interlopers discovered it near the end of the second season.  The third year, last year, a ground hog moved in and picked every little ear, something nibbled on the squash, deer gobbled all the oats a day or two before I planned to harvest them, and the winter wheat and buckwheat failed because of weeds and lack of rain.  You might say it was a total loss, except for the exercise.

I said I wasn't going to plant the field garden this year.  Never trust a gardener who says things like that, but really, I meant it.  When the farmer who cuts our hay dropped by to make plans for this year, he asked Karen, "Do you want me to plow that garden?"  Karen told him no, then mentioned it to me.  I telephoned him right away and said "Sure," and started thinking how to make it work.  A fence, definitely.  What kind of fence?
The solar energizer (Premier PRS 100), above, arrived Wednesday.  See the galvanized ground rod, lower right?
Alligator clips connect the solar energizer to each of the three strands of IntelliTape, which extend all the way around the garden.  Four metal T posts anchor each corner and three fiber rods stand along each side, about 25 feet apart.  Nearly 1200 feet of IntelliTape thread through plastic insulators on the posts and rods.  The fence is considered a "psychological barrier."  If an animal wanted to crash through the fence, it could.  Somehow, the animals need to learn what this fence will do.  Maybe peanut butter will work.
"What's that again?" asks Virginia.

"Peanut butter and a few thousand volts."
"I'm going to call PETA," she says.

"It's not that bad," I say.

"Oh? Are you sure?" she asks.

"Yes, I'm positive," I say, "and our camera still works."  (I was relieved to learn this after an accidental test.)

In case you're wondering, here's what I've put in the ground so far, other than the posts and the ground rod -- the first corn planting on the left, oats in the middle, the second corn planting beyond, and on the far side of the second corn, October beans (horticultural beans; if you want to see them you may need to click on the picture, above).

I've also planted seven hills of squash and melons.  The next photo shows the row of hills, surrounded by newspaper, magazines and cardboard, and covered by mulch.  I'd like to mulch much of the rest of this garden.
 I obviously have a lot of work to do, but the 2010 gardening season is still young.

Speaking of young, while Karen and I were installing the electric fence, Lex and Rosie, our boxers, roamed the rest of the field.  When Karen noticed Rosie's bark, persistent, off in the distance, she set off to investigate.  See her blog for May 27, "Look what Rosie found," at

No comments:

Post a Comment