Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Summer Garden "Issues"

The photo above was taken on our Pacific coastal vacation towards summers end after our grand daughters returned to Missouri. But more of that later. This post is to explain my absence this summer and what has been happening in the vegetable garden. My spring vegetable garden efforts were thwarted at every turn this year. No sooner had a seed sprouted or transplant put in they were gone within a few days. As you can see in my earlier photos I use raised beds and large containers to grow vegetables. My early conclusion was a wily rabbit who had figured out a way to get by my chain link fence. This proved to be true to a certain extent. One morning I witnessed a small one that was able to wiggle underneath the fence. But it would take one great hopper to jump into my fiberglass barrels. Thinking I had solved the mystery I covered everything with chicken wire and re-planted. And waited.
A week went by with incident and then it happened again. Everything stripped to the ground. At this point I was considering cutter bees, but nothing of the plant was left over. Surly if it had been bees there would have been large pieces left. I increased my observation efforts throughout the day. Then, finally, I observed two very small ground squirrels frolicking among my beds and pots. We had noticed in increase in ground squirrels in the neighborhood, but had thought nothing of it. Ground squirrels have no problem fitting through the openings of a chain link fence.

So, I begin covering everything in bird netting and re-planted. A real pain. But it did the trick for about 48 hours. But then it happened again - everything except a few mature plants were gone. At this point it was funny and I pretty much gave up. This was hard as my two grand daughters would be staying with us for a couple of months this summer and they expected to help me in the garden. Only a few days before they arrived I witnessed the same 2 ground squirrels I had seen earlier inside the bird netting. When they saw me they quickly escaped through what I later discovered to be tiny folds of loose netting that hadn't been secured down. At this point I was left with 3 tomato plants, some squash and a couple of barrels on strawberries. I turned my attention towards other goings on at this point.

As it turned out, our grand daughters kept us running this summer and there was little time to garden. After they returned to Missouri Chu and I headed for the coast and slowly moved north to keep cool. Incredible scenery and, compared to desert fauna, all plants are on steroids. Our favorite spots were the small towns of Elk (20 minutes south of Mendocino, CA) and Yachats, OR. You can see photos and videos of the trip on my Facebook. Both were fabulous coastal areas surrounded by beautiful national forests.

So, now I turn my attention to the fall garden. And better ways of protecting my vegetables from desert creatures.


nancy said...

We recently moved to the west side, and having more acreage (or even being able to even say "acreage" in ref to our property) we'd like a larger garden than we've had in the past. But being city gardeners, we're not used to protecting veggies from various creatures out here. We've gotten advice on keeping rattlers out (hardward cloth, a few inches above ground, a few inches below), and were told that just a foot and a half or two of chicken wire will keep out javalina. But what about those little rodents, and birds, etc.? If you have suggestions, would love to hear them. p.s. -- really enjoy your blog. Lost the link for a few months but found it again.

Brad said...

Thank you for your comment Nancy. My next post will contain photos of a cage I constructed to keep these little critters out. By the way, I constructed chicken wire to keep javalina out of my non-vegetable beds and they just plow through or jump over it. I have learned not to water them at night (they smell the water) and that has reduced the number invasions.

nancy said...

Thank you, Brad! Looking forward to your next post! cheers, Nancy

Anonymous said...

Dear Brad,

This summer seemed to be not so good for many of us. Pam and Bob,(you remember them, they have the Secret Garden across the street) have had all sorts of pests this year. Grubs seem to be very bad this year. They have really stressed the Ivy on the front porch. I am about to resort some drastic measures to save the ivy.

Love ya,