Our 2021 garden: squash tunnel, day two

Well, I’d hoped we could actually finish the squash tunnel today, or at least get the side cross pieces at the top done, but we didn’t get quite that far.

But, progress was still made.

Most importantly, we got the supports up in the post holes.

In refilling the post holes and tamping the soil down, a few of them did need to have more soil added. A good way to reduce some of the lumps in the old garden, left from when it was last plowed before we moved here.

It’s very… rustic looking. That’s a trend now, right? 😀

And no, that middle pole isn’t actually tilted. The tree it’s made from is bent. All the pieces are wonky in shape! 😀

It’s also still very flimsy right now. Joining them at the sides with cross pieces should fix that.

It was already starting to get hot by the time this was done, so we took advantage of the morning shade to transplant the Mongolian Giant sunflowers. It wasn’t until evening that I was able to work on the next step for the squash tunnel. I cut a total of 8 of the 16 cross pieces needed at 5’6″, then trimmed matching flat pieces at each end.

I also trimmed one side of the flattened ends a bit; just enough to have a narrow flat surface on what will be the top.

The flat parts are intended to butt up against the upright and the top cross piece. It will wait until tomorrow, but the plan is to screw the cross pieces to the upright, then add one more screw through the top cross piece, down into the side piece – and hopefully not hit another screw in the process. This should give it some more stability. The other 8 cross pieces will be attached a few inches from the bottoms, which should strengthen it even more, as well as provide a place to attach mesh for the vines to climb.

There are a couple of problems we need to figure out how to get around, to finish the job. We do have a cordless drill, but both batteries no longer hold a charge, and the company doesn’t make them anymore. Until we get around to buying a new one, we have several corded drills to choose from. Getting extension cords to reach this far, though… that’s going to take a bit! We have a pair of 100′ extension cords, which won’t reach reach from the outdoor outlet on the side of the house. I remember how far I could reach while using the electric weed trimmer, and three extension cords. We’ve since gotten more cords, so I think we’ll have enough to reach around the structure.

The next challenge is, we’re short. Well, except my husband, and he’s broken. 😉 To be able to drill a pilot hole through the stop cross piece will require clambering up and down a step ladder. For our gimpy household, that is somewhat risky!

But, it’ll need to be done. With this structure, we can’t get away with tying the cross pieces on with twine, like with the pea trellises.

With 5 uprights and 4 cross pieces per side, only two cross pieces can be placed up against the overhangs at the top, so each side will have two cross pieces mounted just under the other two. Which will hopefully also contribute to the stability. If that’s not enough, we’d have to add supports on the inside of the corners, and I really don’t want to get that finicky with a temporary structure.

We may not have finished the squash tunnel, but we accomplish other things, but that is for my next post! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

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