This weekend was suppose to be the big one: the one we attach the awesome huge planters DH made to the perimeter of the deck. Two huge ass planters:

  • one 8 foot x 12 inch x 12 inch
  • one 12 foot x 12 inch x 12 inch

The 8 foot is slated for a romaine and scallions. The 12 foot for spinach, radishes and a huge variety of greens.

We got the 8-foot planter up and in place. It’s about the same height as me so I couldn’t shoot into the box but it’s HUGE! AND heavy! And it will be heavier when it’s filled with potting mix. Here are some photos:

8-foot planter box on short end of deck, hovers above the container garden below. The squash trellis will rest against it.

8-foot planter box on short end of deck, hovers above the container garden below. The squash trellis will rest against it. You can see the invasive sunchokes on the left edge of the photo, they are about halfway into the yard from the far edge.

shortbox-3

THEN, we tried to attach industrial-strength L-brackets to the longest part of the deck. The L-brackets are used to support the bottom of the boxes while insanely huge bolts attach the backsides to the fascia and joists underneath. We learned of THE PROBLEM while drilling pilot holes for the L-brackets on the deck front. There is a hidden board behind the fascia and it was completely rotted away. AND FILLED WITH BIG BLACK ANTS. This actually explains a lot. We often have issues with black ants attacking Olive’s cat food in the summer time since the kitchen is right off the deck. We never could figure out where they were coming from and assumed they were another gift from the Tree of Hell which hates us. Well, now we know it’s one thing we can’t blame on this tree.

Rot and ants extend across the entire front of the deck and into most of the joists.

Rot and ants extend across the entire front of the deck and into most of the joists. You can see how anxious my seedlings are getting, they're practically growing off the table.

Close up of the worst part we've found so far.

Close up of the worst part we've found so far.

This event caused DH to go further inspecting all the joists on the entire deck, discovering that 3/4 of them are untreated lumber, rotten and infested with ants. (click on photos to see gory details)

This is why you should never use untreated lumber when building a deck. Not only will you jeopardize your safety but ants will plague you forever. We’re not sure which previous owner did this but it appears to have been done in stages.

When the fascia board fell away from the rot behind, gazzillions of big balck ant feel and went scurrying incredibly fast.

When the fascia board fell away from the rot behind, gazillions of big black ants fell and went scurrying incredibly fast.

We’re trying to devise a way to replace the joists incrementally so we don’t have to tear down the entire deck and spend shitloads of money we don’t have.

And I’m getting further behind in my seedling transplants. My 38 extra tomatoes are looking peaked and the squash continue to be impatient. I’ve called all the Subways within a 20-mile radius and they have no more pickle buckets because corporate is switching them all to shrinkwrapped pickles. And I still don’t have any carrots, parsnips, corn, melons, rutabagas or kohlrabi in the ground or planters.

There is good news however, the Japanese spinach and red onions in the whiskey barrel are doing great! I was worried about the onions because they looked mildewy in the bag in the garage and the spinach because is looked so delicate. But I think they’ll be just fine.