The wire cages I manufactured to protect my vegetable garden have worked out great! They are very light and easy to lift off my raised beds. I can now report with confidence that they are also effective in preventing chipmunks and gophers from ravaging your harvest. The pvc handles on top are a must for easy removal and replacement. See my September 2009 posts for more information on these cages and their purpose.
I added a third irrigation tube in the center of the bed to better distribute the water. Prior to that I was hand watering my new vegetable seedlings to get complete coverage. All of my raised beds and fiberglass barrels are now on timed irrigation and it has been working beautifully. We have been enjoying radishes, romaine lettuce and spinach for the past two weeks. I have been picking off the larger leafs for our evening salads which seems to promote speedy growth of the remaining smaller leaves. I did this last fall and was able to keep ourselves in salad fixings for months.
Tomatoes are just now starting to ripen. I had 5 plants before the chipmunk invasion but am now down to one. Still, there are plenty growing and they will liven up our salads for several more weeks.
This is my third attempt to grow snap peas in the desert. So far, so good, but I am bracing myself for the worst. I am hoping that consistent watering provided by my make-shift irrigation system (see prior blog posts for construction and layout) will make a difference this time. My wife loves snap peas so I have to get this right!