Way back in Ye Olde Days, houses had no indoor plumbing, and so water for drinking, washing, and whatnot would need to be carried to the house, by hand, in buckets. Because of this, my pioneering ancestors situated the house close to a wetland sort of area on the property. They built a spring house over a natural spring there and hauled water from it for many years. The foundation is still there.
We have been having a long stretch of dry weather recently, and I had a mind to water the garden. Not wanting to overtax the house’s water supply (a different spring), I hatched a scheme to pump water out of the old spring house foundations and keep my tomatoes happily irrigated.
This presented some challenges. In the years since the spring house has been actively used, it had filled in with a nice deep layer of soggy, heavy muck. There was no remedy but a shovel and a sore back.
The next challenge was the pump. The spring has a really slow refresh rate. My transfer pump would suck the whole spring house dry in a few minutes and then continue to run, overheat, and burn up. No good. So, I found one of those solar powered pumps people use to make a cutesy waterfall in their Koi ponds or whatever, and set that up to slowly fill a 55 gallon drum.
I was then able to use my high powered transfer pump to launch the water up the hill to the garden sprinkler 150 feet away.
It worked! Hooray! So, that was awesome, and I put 50-100 gallons on the garden every day for a week! The tomatoes were so happy!
Now that I had gone to all the work of building an irrigation system for the garden, we got rain. So much rain.
The cellar flooded, the dirt floor melted into mud, and the sump basin and its pump floated out of the ground and went on swashbuckling adventures sailing all around the basement.
The good news is that the garden seems to have put all this water to good use.
Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue.
– Thomas Jefferson. Notes on the State of Virginia.
A year ago, with Jefferson’s eloquence firmly in mind, and wishing to hold, within myself, a “peculiar deposit” of “substantial and genuine virtue”, I resolved that I should “labor in the soil”, and grow myself a tomato.
Necessary accouterments assembled, I dropped some seeds into the soil, and watched in silent awe as they erupted skyward.
The plants grew to maturity on the sunward side of my townhouse where their abundance burst forth with unrestrained vigor!
Alas, my happy circumstance as a grower of tomatoes was not to last. The home owner’s association took issue with my “vegetable garden” (in reality, two plants in a flower box). Their tyrannical buffoonery demanded that I remove my wondrous bounty to the shaded side of the house, where it could not offend the mistaken aesthetic sensibilities of my neighbors.
Events too many and too tragic to enumerate here ultimately resulted in the sale of this townhouse and my subsequent emancipation from the despotic mandates of any home owners’ associations.
My new domestic situation involves an area in which I think I might be able to grow a few tomatoes, and perhaps some other vegetables besides.
If I am able to keep ahead of the weeding, I hope to find time enough to dust off this long disused blog, and keep you abreast of my horticultural adventures.