Log in

Previous Entry

State of the garden- Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's okay that so much of gardening is experimentation, and failure. Sure, I understand all the basic things, but living in an area with such a high amount of animal traffic always presents problems. One little thing changes, and then suddenly you get destroyed crops. There was the year my old neighbors added crayfish to their pond, which then in turn attracted racoons which ate all my raspberries and and pineapple guavas. Then I moved, and didn't realize racoons were still around, and they waited till the plums were ripe and climbed up the short old tree and ate about two thirds of them. The climbed the bottom of the fig tree and pulled those off as well. Then there was the time a nearby orchard put fences up, and suddenly deer were hungry enough to jump over the dimpled part of the fence where a tree had fallen many years ago. Months of work can get wiped out over night.

This place has no fences and ever present deer, I see them near daily in the yard and they've worn trail like paths between this property and the neighbors, unconnected by fences. They use the creek that's at the bottom of the property as a home base and travel conduit, I think. They present their own problem, but then so does the peacock. I thought I'd learned from last year what he liked to eat, but I was wrong and he ended up eating some of my beans. Then I thought I could beat him by covering my seedlings with plastic lids like a green house- very typically sold with seedling trays. But a single day of blasting heat after a week of cloudy days cooked all my lettuce, mustard and herb starts. Only the uncovered trays survived. I ended up having to put all my trays inside old wire rabbit cages that I had under the house, and flipping over those open plastic lattice-like trays you can use to carry small pots around in. Put over a tray they seem to shield them a little from birds. The jay family that nested in the apple tree last year has taken to pulling squash seeds out of the pots where I had planted them. They were watching me work, so they knew the seeds were in there. Still, things progress. I replanted what I lost, as annoying as it was.

Still though, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to garden in an area where I didn't have to protect every single thing from gophers, deer, racoons, wild rabbits and birds of all types. A lot of times I read things in books or watch something on TV that would never work at all in my area. Like putting anything directly into the ground without wire basket protection. I tried lasagna gardening- which ends up NEVER composting here because there isn't enough heat, plus gets dug into by animals so they can eat your fresh vegetable/fruit scrap compost. At the end of the season, the newspaper was so perfectly preserved it was readable and everything inside had simply dried out. Prefabricated composting bins also similarly don't work, again because of the heat. They end up as compost preserving units, drying out each individual piece until you have a giant pile of perfectly preserved dried food scraps filling the whole thing, possibly riddled with black widows. Adding things with nitrogen just doesn't help, even animal manure just dries out. I've tried two different systems, and it's the same result. Only the giant pile/tarp method or the flattened black plastic bag seem to work. Then there are all pinterest pins of great garden ideas that I know from experience have problems with them- tires that attract and harbor black widows, potato towers with straw that attract black widows and mice, great pest prevention that isn't great, etc etc. I sometimes wish information on the down sides of any given method were more readily given out, and what to do in specific situations so you don't have to find out this way. I don't know why I find it frustrating, but I do.

My seedling area currently looks like the equivalent of a lawn with busted cars all over it. I've never seen anyone else putting their trays inside a wire cage, but nothing else is working right now, and I don't have an actual greenhouse, so.....yes. It will just look super redneck. Gardening on the cheap isn't always super attractive, I guess. But I'm learning to make food, dammit! I'm determined to grow so many things this year.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2014 03:11 am (UTC)
I love your garden posts. They have everything - success, failure, drama, animals. All that's missing are some dance numbers.
May. 11th, 2014 09:38 am (UTC)
Actually the peacock has been taking care of that, right outside the garage. He does a display dance, like this, although without such dramatic music. Sometimes I sit on the asphalt and he'll siddle up to me doing his dance. It's kind of hard to see in that video but he also does this weird thing where he vibrates all his tail feathers and it makes a strange almost hissing noise. He'll walk right up to me and suddenly BZZZZZZZZZZZZT the whole tail fan goes crazy.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )