Telephone Poles Get a Second Life

Our new raised vegetable bed

Last year our street was resurfaced for the first time in 40 years. The process started with all of the telephone/electric service poles being replaced. After removing the poles, the top five feet was cut off of each old pole. I asked one of the workmen if I could have the tops of the poles. He was kind enough to dump them in our side yard where they resided for about nine months.

Create corners and curves by cutting the ends of the pole sections at angles.

The tops of the pole were full of large metal bolts, brackets, and ceramic insulators. The hardware wasn’t too hard to get off with a nice big wrench and some patience. The five-foot lengths were easier to move around than the longer pieces of pole. I was able to roll them onto my trusty red plastic toboggan and skid them to their new resting places.

This spring we started transitioning the south side of the house from flower to food production. It has some shade but mostly a southern exposure, so we thought it would be a good place to establish an asparagus and rhubarb bed.  I haven’t had much luck with asparagus in the past but have decided to try again in a new area and in a deep bed of soil created specifically for the purpose.

This is where the telephone pole tops came in.

The south bed is situated on a slope. We’ve dug a shallow trench to hold the poles in place and backfilled the bed with compost, dirt, and any other good rich organic matter. (We don’t worry about the preservatives in the wood because they are downhill from the growing plants and at the bottom of the slope in the direction that water drains—not in direct contact with the plants. They have also been weathering for 40 years!) We will top it all off with chicken yard straw this fall before the snow flies.

I’ve planted tomatoes and basil in the new bed this season because it took until late May to get most the perennials in the bed dug, potted, and made ready for a plant sale and the rest transplanted or given away to neighbors.

The tomatoes are flowering now and the basil is ready for the first batch of pesto. So far so good! Begonia

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