Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gardening Triumphs and Trials

I love this part of gardening.  You spend 6 hours over the course of a day: watering, working hard, relaxing some, returning to work, hiking around the farm to see the fawn the husband almost runs over with a tractor, come back to the garden to weed the last section, cleaning before you leave, and see that the tiny curl of green that was just breaking through the soft earth has progressed to a stem and a leaf.  And then you come back two days later, and the stem and leaf has turned into three leaves, and you realize that every seed you planted, expecting only about half to actually germinate, has emerged and how can you possibly THIN them out!

Well that is easy.  Wait for the pests to thin the herd a little.

6 hot peppers
After the marathon planting, I mulched.  I use straw.  Yeah, I know it is ugly, but it is easy and it works.  I am a lazy gardener, remember?  If I don't have to weed, I am happy.  We are still waiting on some slow germinating seeds to show, but in the end, we'll use 3 bales to begin the season.  I expect to have to add another layer of straw later on, but for now, I am pleased.  Here's how the hot pepper bed looked after I added straw.  We did wind up using an old bale to fill in the paths.  I didn't know when I planned the garden about the tiny but definitely present slope to the land.  Squishy straw is kinda fun to walk on.  Kinda.

All but two of the squash seeds I planted came up.  I was shocked.  (But, as my country kitty friend pointed out:  "You might still get squash bugs.")  I only mulched between the rows, but soon I'll add between the plants.  The nasturtium seeds are coming up as well, although you cannot see them well in the picture.

AND... we have our first cucumber!  Never mind that it is about as long as my knuckle!  It is cute and looks strangely like an alien pod.  Hmm.  Better check that variety again.  What if it is one of those pods from The Invasion of the Body Snatchers?  I might have a job for them...
Because the mother@$&%$% bunnies got in and thinned the lettuce and ate ONLY my borage.  Wait.  Did I say ate?  Nope.  It only chewed through the thorny stem and left it there.  I will let my dog loose-- she is a verified bunny killer.  And I will string them up so their rotting carcasses will serve as a warning.... Okay, so the borage won't be able to help my tomatoes and squash after all.  I may attempt to replant, but not until we have the bunny issue resolved.
Mutilated Borage

My husband had cleverly set up his game camera in the garden, just to see what was going on.  So, when I discovered the beheaded borage, I was able to look at the images within an hour.  We saw that the bunnies (two of the rotten beasts!) entered from the gate, which already had wire down to the ground, but had a small gap between the two doors.  I thought and thought about how to fix the "leak" without impeding access to the garden for people and equipment.

Here was my solution.
I had a length of chicken wire.  I laid it flat, and added a long metal fencing stake about six inches from the bottom, with the spiky bit facing through the wire.  I wrapped the excess around the ends, and then folded the bottom into an angle.  It rests against the gate from the outside.  The tall wire we hooked into nails that were already there, and then stamped down on the part laying flush (spiky bits down) with the ground.  It won't work for long, but it is a good temporary step.  I hope.

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