Monday, June 18, 2012

Gardening (aka Building Fort Knox)

Last weekend I finally got my garden planted. A couple weeks ago, we dug the 12'x8' gaden by hand. Yes, a tiller would have been easier and more efficient, but when it comes to home projects, my husband and I often shrug and say, "How bad can it be?" We should know by now, but we're slow learners.

At any rate, during a 90-degree weekend, hubby dug off the top layer of grass, and my daughter-in-law and I worked all the soil off to regain some of it for planting. My grandson walked around with a zippered bag and collected any grubs we shook loose, christening himself "Grub Control." Because of the grub problem, we wanted to treat the area, and then had to wait at least a week to plant anything we would consume. So, on this past (90-degree) weekend, I got up at 8:00am and started turning the soil, again, by hand. By noon, everything was planted.

This is the "before." (Well, actually, the grass around it is the true "before.")

(Also, I want to assure you that, yes, we do mow our yard, but with all the shade we have, the grass grows like gangbusters anyway. It was mowed right after the garden was planted.)

My helpers. Ironic, because the only tool I really used was my old, old, shovel, whom I've since nicknamed "Bully," which is not pictured. We bought it at a garage sale last summer before we'd even moved into our house. The elderly woman we bought it from said it was her uncle's. We bought the garden weasel (left) from the same couple. The women didn't want her husband to sell it. (Notice the patch of dead grass above the hoe? That's likely caused by the grubs.)

The cast of characters. This being my first garden since I was a kid, I opted to keep it small and manageable. I planted four tomato plants (a combination of cherry and regular), three hills of cucumbers (possibly my favorite food on earth), and a package of 60 gladiola bulbs.

Gladiola bulbs. (No, I actually wasn't tipsy when I planted these.)

Blisters from "Bully." I was very proud of them.


<< And now, a brief intermission to enjoy a job well done. >>

That over, on Sunday afternoon, while hanging clothes on the line, I noticed that something did not feel right. I looked over at the garden to see that most of the tomatoes had been plucked and scattered about the garden. Several sticks marking my cucumber hills were removed. And, a glad bulb was uprooted and lay by a nearby tree; it had been nibbled. SQUIRRELS!

This begins our attempt to outwit some of God's cleverer creatures.

Already 4:00pm on Sunday, and already tired from a full weekend of chores, and already nursing headache number two of the weekend, hubby and I decided we needed to act quickly. I hopped online to gather hints on keeping squirrels out of a garden. Here is a partial list of suggestions: mothballs around the perimeter of the garden, vinegar-soaked rags around the garden, marigolds planted in and around the garden, dog fur, coyote urine, motion-detector sprinklers, tin pie plates rigged to make noise, squirrel food provided outside the garden (negotiating with terrorists?) etc., etc. (If any of you have tried these or other suggestions, please let me know the results!) A fence was reported to be a must to deter, but shouldn't be thought enough to send them packing.

Hubby, through barely disguised resentment, and I went to the local home improvement store. We bought chicken wire and metal fence posts (and a pair of suede work gloves for Blister Girl), and by 9:00pm, we'd built this:

Our theory was: If we buy a small enough chicken wire so that the squirrel can't squeeze through, fix the bottom so that the little dickens can't burrow under, and leave a foot or so of the wire draped over the top so that if he climbed he'd reach a point at which we couldn't make it up and over the side, and combine the fence with an alternating bevy of suggestions above, we might stand a chance. I'll keep you posted.

No comments:

Post a Comment