It was a cold and rainy evening…..yes it truly was. The early afternoon wasn’t too bad so I thought that Santa, that’s me, could do all of his appointed rounds in time. You see, santa needed to finish the strawberry towers because the plants had arrived on the 23rd and needed to be planted. I had purchased the PVC pipe on the 22nd intending to have them cut, formed and filled with planting media – just waiting to have the plants tucked away. I did not work out that way…I had coffee to drink, more leaves to gather, a few last-minute gifts to buy, some time down at the gym…..in general – anything to keep Santa away from his appointed rounds.

Yesterday afternoon……yes this is Christmas morning!, I began to finish in an afternoon what could have, should have, been spread out over a day or two. Oh, I forgot to mention – in an earlier post I told you that I had the materials to install my friend John’s new 4X4 bed. Well, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve I still had the materials and added that to Santa’s to do list. Are you seeing the big picture now? I do my best work under tight, tight time deadlines!

The weather cooperated for the initial phase of the tower construction. The PVC pipe is made in 10′ lengths, so each tower is 5 feet in length but when placed in the garden only about 4 feet are usable….. photo later ( actually taken Christmas morning so I had some light to see). eight foot lengths or 16 foot lengths would be awsome. I will whine more later.

I snapped a line down the center of each pipe. Then 18 inches from the bottom – bottom 12 inches will be buried – I make my first cut across the pipe – I then measure up 6″ and then off to the right approximately 135 degrees, based on my simple math skills that is about 2.3571 inches off to the right of center. (note for my brother Todd, I rounded off heavily and simplified the number crunching). I measured up 6 inches on the center line and then 135 degrees to the left for the next cut, up 6 inches and back to center. I chose the not make a Fibonacci sequence spiral as some of the cuts would wind up on the north side of the pipe…. again – simplified for me. Center line will face south upon installation and the left and right cuts would be west and east facing – approximately – …… Photos below show the cuts and then the planting pockets after they were formed by heating with a “blow dryer” – yes Lisa I wore my gloves….she is always reminding me.

Just as I was beginning to finish forming the pockets on the third tower,….I made 5 and installed 4, the rain began. i installed them adjacent to my original experiment. I took my post hole digger and carved out a 12 inch deep pocket for each new tower. I filled the base of each up to just above ground level to ensure dry “feet” for the towers and berries. The 4″ towers are much easier to fill planting medium as compared to the 3″ towers and a lot easier when it comes to planting the new bare root plants. The pockets will not shred the skin of my fingers while planting but I still chose to wear my gloves – thanks again to my daughter Lisa and her gentle reminder. The rain was beginning to come down and it was beginning to get a little darker. I waited until this morning to photograph the results. See the slideshow below.

Santa wasn’t yet done for the evening – He loaded up his sleigh an – F-150, not red but basic polar white and drove over to John’s house. Now the rain was heavier and colder. I cleaned up the dead tomato plants, pulled the cages, reorganized – just a little his wood storage stack and installed the new bed. Looks good but he will have to wait a bit for the winter plantings…..and of course I will  weed the old bed…the Rosemary and strawberry plants in the old bed are looking good though… maybe some photos later today when we swing by for the annual dinner and dessert orgy…. I was soaked, chilled and ready for my hot shower. Oh it felt so good.

Santa could now ready himself for Christmas Eve and family time….. Santa can plant John’s bed another day.

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