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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A "Well" Watered Garden

The fall vegetable garden is but a memory. Except for a few things in the two raised beds (more on that later) and the container pots. Along with the freezes that nearly wiped it out on January 11 and 12 there has been a little issue going on at Hoe and Shovel with our in-ground water well.

It was discovered during the holidays that our 120 foot well, which coincidentally fully and solely supplies our home and our garden with our water needs, was in need of replacement.

Long story.

And more than you want to know.

The purpose of this post is to share the process of digging the new one.

Even THAT is probably more than you want to know.
But here we go...

Many, many moons ago when we erected the side-yard fencing for our beloved Golden Retriever (may he rest in peace) we fortunately thought to put in double gates at each end. This is a good idea whenever there is equipment necessary to access located in the back yard. Right? Right.

Only it isn't a good idea to plant so many plants over time that the double gates are obstructed and the back yard can no longer be accessed by a vehicle. Drats!
Wow... this looks really bad.

The last morning it was 26 degrees and frost was still weighing down so much of the garden a crew was to be here to take down the gates (and part of the fencing) and rip out the Rhapis excelsa Lady palms, pull up stepping stones, and cut some Magnolia tree limbs while I dismantled the outer beds of the vegetable garden.

The same ones I had just built almost a year ago exactly to the day.

All the trellises, border fencing, stone pathways, and container pots have been moved from the garden. The gates and fencing are down. Now there's room for the well driller's large construction vehicles... all four of them.

The new water well location would coincide with the new planting area I was planning to dig out while the weather is cooler. (See the flagged pole in the middle of the marked off area?)

The first piece of equipment arrived a couple of days after I gave them the word the pathway was clear.

It was backed in.

Right through my vegetable garden.

I really worked hard to prepare myself for this. I wasn't prepared.
The back hoe would dig up the ground where they would be drilling and as you can see carried some of the heavy logs used during the process.
Now for the second vehicle. It weighs 55,000 pounds. Steel plates were placed along the driveway to prevent breakage.

All precautions were taken to save any low lying limbs of the oak trees. As you can see there was no wiggle room making it around the corner of the house.

Ah, made the turn around the corner. Now if they can just get it through the gates we will have guessed correctly about the space needed and no more fencing will need to be removed.

Your eyes do not deceive. Those double tires are sinking into the ground about 6 inches and running on either side of the outer beds of what was the vegetable garden.

They are doing their best not to run over the carrots and the edging. Bless them.

Oops. A little too far to the right.

Scurrying around (on the other side of the house) to the back to see how this will turn out I get a photo from another angle. (My neighbor's house in the background~ just to give you perspective).

Okay. Two vehicles in place. Two to go.

Consideration for ample 'sky space' for that boom between trees was a main factor in deciding where the well would be drilled.

Not exactly lovely yard art.

Gotta have the supervisors at every construction site.
Next came the supply truck. It was a piece of cake to get back there compared to the last one.
Here comes the BIGGEST one. It weighs a mere 65,000 pounds. I know because they kept telling me. I think they wanted me to be grateful they made it back there at all.
This one has to make that tight turn as well. It was decided to back it in due to limited space. On departure there wouldn't have been enough room to turn it around in order to exit.

Yikes. It made the corner and there it goes down the side of the house and right through... you guessed it... the vegetable garden. It's a well-worn path by now.
A very tight squeeze.
Oh, WELL, it won't fit through the gates so let's just leave it halfway into the backyard. Those heavy pipes it's carrying can be dealt with right from there.

Besides, there were plenty of deep ruts in the back yard without one more heavy truck pulling all the way in.

And the mess begins. Or would that be continues?

It took them five long days to dig a new 300' (yay!) well, cap off the old one, and make adjustments to the new equipment.

With all those trucks (and men) running over the garden some of the carrots remarkably remained in tact. At least that was the case on entry.

The two raised beds were not bothered by trucks. They were bothered by freeze but not construction. We DO still have lettuce, chives, broccoli, parsley, oregano, and spinach. All the flowers are dead.
The trucks are gone. The well is working.

I don't mind having a well in lieu of city water. It's cleaner and it's much more economical. After the cost of digging of course.
I've got my work cut out for me between all the freeze damage and the construction damage.

I'm looking forward to the day when this sight is but a memory.


  1. Oh, Meems! You certainly seem to have a bright attitude about it all. What must be done, must be done.

    With your great skill and green thumb, your garden will be back again. I know it's so much work and it was so beautiful.

    Take care,

  2. Meems...Oh, my, there are no words. Your garden has been dealt two hard blows this month but I have no doubt you'll have everything looking spic and span pretty by spring.

  3. Oh Meems, It will be a memory soon--and you will be glad that you got the new well. And when it comes to the weather, we all go through certain things with it and there's not one darn thing we can do to change it.... I know these words are just that---WORDS, and I can feel how upset you have been. BUT--come spring, your garden will be very pretty again. Just be patient...


  4. what a pictorial! and i am sure you only told the half of it! but this a new beginning for the rest of the story - the blessing of a new well, better water and more of it in the future years! you will soon be harvesting from a new and improved spring garden, and working on that next project to minimize your yard space. all is well (pun intended)!

  5. The well will be worth it Meems. Just think of all the 'new' planning you get to do!!!

  6. The only good thing about this situation is that you will get to start from scratch - Do all the things you forgot to do the first time. Maybe try new plants or designs.

    I will be in a similar situation this Fall. We will have to tent our house and garage. Between them is a unmovable trellis with gardens under them. They will all be toast after the tenting, to include a 20' Bird of Paradise and a plot of 8' Lady Palms.

  7. Meems girl chile you are a strong woman. I would be in tears....tears of joy and sadness. Joy for the new well, sadness for the amount of damage it incurred. I wish I had a well, it is illegal to dig one without permission on my piece of rock. Good thing you hadn't started your new is bad enough seeing all those trenches in the veg garden made by those trucks. I would have been a nervous wreck by the end of this ordeal. A Great big hug to you my friend.

  8. Oh, Meems! What an ordeal this whole experience must have been. I bet you're glad the new well is up and running and all of those giant vehicles are out of your garden.
    I sure do hope that freeze was the last of that sort of weather for us Floridians. I, too, lost a lot of plants in the freeze. Crossing my fingers that they will bounce back to life soon. I admire your good attitude throughout the well ordeal. :)


  9. Sounds like quite an ordeal Meems! Reminds me a bit of the mess I cleaned up last fall after we had our patio, walks, and four feet of clay soil dug out, brick and foundation repairs done, then new patio and walks. The trucks couldn't access the back though, thankfully, and everything was hauled in small batches. It took about six weeks and the place was a dusty, rutted, muddy, gravelly mess while the job was being done. There were pavers to re-place, piles of clay soil to move, and pieces of gravel, mortar, concrete, and brick to hand-pick from the lawn and gardens. I feel for you!

    The cleanup here was a lot of work, but little by little it got done, and actually took less time than I thought it would. Now that everything's back to normal, the mess is only a fading memory, and we're very happy it's behind us.

  10. Very sorry to see your garden suffer such indignity. But, I have to admit, I can't wait to see just how you're going to restore (and just maybe add) the beauty. Gardening is always an adventure at Hoe and Shovel!

  11. I know I is all fixable Meems, but it is still hard to look at these photos. It has to be very upsetting. My yard looks like my Canada garden after the snow has gone. I donned my stiff upper lip, but I am not as strong as you. I had my moment, and we have been getting to work. I hobble, Hub clips..and I see signs of life under all of the brown stuff. I wonder if my caladiums will return?

    All My Best To You,
    Sue XO

  12. Hi Meems~~ Hats off to you, girl. It was probably the idea of fresh water and hot showers that kept you from completely unraveling. LOL

    Now my wish for you is no more rain, no more frost and a clear calendar.

  13. Talk about compacted soil. UGH... I bet your heart sank lower than the trucks when they pulled through your garden. You certainly have a challenge here. Best of luck.

  14. Oh, Meems! I feel for you! It is even hard just looking at those pictures. But I am sure that we will all see your beautiful garden this coming spring and summer with the new well in place and your GREEN THUMB! Take care.

  15. Oh dear, Meems, this would probably make me cry! But water is a necessity, and the garden can be replaced. I know that you probably already have lots of ideas to repair this spot and will have everything looking lush again very soon.

  16. Oh Meems-I dread the day when we have to have that far,so good with ours.But I have every body part crossed that it will not need to be done,in my lifetime.Great pictorial,btw.

  17. Oh meems~~(((hugs))). It will be even more beautiful! g

  18. Well... this is the year and time of year to put one in. Smart move. I look at this freeze as not so bad only because it came so early. If it had been a late February freeze it would have been so much worse. I have cut back most things and there is new growth sprouting with this warm weather and sufficient rain we are getting.

  19. Thanks everyone for all the sympathy groans... I can feel the hugs and the understanding is like a healing balm... believe me! I KNOW you all KNOW what this felt like.

    I'm the kind of girl who cries AFTER the fact... and I admit when all those trucks tracked their way back out and I went out there to assess the damage... like Florida Sue I tried to put on my best stiff upper lip one more time as I watered what was left of the veggie garden. For a few moments I just couldn't hold it back any longer as my mind raced around trying to figure out JUST HOW was I ever going to get it back in order. Tears slipped out with no warning as I felt sorry for myself pitifully ... hose in hand. Then I remembered my grandson was surely waking from his nap... stiff upper lip again and back to my pragmatic self.

    It's all temporary and it is just STUFF! It may take some time but all will be repaired and we'll be on our way to summer before we know it!!!!

    You all are the BEST!!!!

  20. Equipment use is easier on the workers back; but my, it made a mess of the life brings its challenges, "it is new every morning"...

  21. Di,
    Mercy! I need lots of it. Thanks for the reminder.

  22. Oh Meems! I feel for you. This had to be so hard to watch, but your faith and your outlook on life is your great strength.
    I'm glad things are on the way toward improvement. Little by little, and with help, it will all be but a memory, eventually.
    Sending a big hug to help you through the ordeal, dear girl :)

  23. Oh, my god, my heart breaks for you. You're so brave and positive about it, and I say bravo, Meems. You will be able to make it just a memory in record time with that attitude.

    I'm sorry I found this post a bit late (linking from today's article), but I just wanted to comment to share my solidarity and fellow feeling. Your beautiful garden! Seeing the tires squash it makes me want to cry. :(


Have a blessed day,

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