Thursday, March 10, 2011

Look Before You ... Dig

A gardening tip from a somewhat embarrassed SustainaMom.

Suburban gardening can be tough. Sometimes there are ridiculous neighborhood covenants to work around. Sometimes there isn’t enough land for the apple orchard or a row of corn. Sometimes there isn’t enough sun to grow anything anywhere on the property.

And other times, technology runs right down the middle of the sunny patch where you want to plant your blueberries.

Luckily, the technological impediment that I discovered two years ago was a buried television cable and not something that turned dangerous when I ran over it with a tiller!

If you plan to dig up a new portion of the yard to plant something this year, you might want to check with the Common Ground Alliance (in the U.S.) to request that the utility companies mark your water, power, phone, cable, and gas lines before you start digging. (Anyone know of similar services in other countries?)

It’s free, but it takes a few days so plan ahead. Call them at 811 or visit

What have you dug up unexpectedly in your yard?

Any other safety tips for new gardeners?


Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

We have dug up tons of bricks. The foundation of our house is made of bricks, and apparently the builder left a bunch behind in the yard.

Green Bean said...

Great point! We dug up a large rose bush several years ago to replace it with some edibles and oopsies, cracked a gas pipe. Now, THAT sucked!

Chile said...

When the excavators were working on our property, they did call "Blue Stake" to identify where the power came in. The company never showed up, which meant the backhoe had to work much more slowly to avoid cuttng our electric until they found it. It did not come in where I would have expected.

Otherwise, our acre is clear except for waterlines from the neighborhood well. We know where the active one is but I did run into an inactive one a couple of days ago.

Oldnovice said...

The guy I hire to dig around here every coupla years damaged the cable line in 2009. I asked him to do some things again this year and suggested that he avoid that corner of the yard. He claims that he called everyone in 2009, but no one said they had wires there.


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