Saturday, July 24, 2010

D is for


Deer tracks through the peppers
(I am thankful that at least they didn't step on the plants this time)

Deer Nosh: topped tomatoes

There is quite a deer problem in our neighborhood, and consequently in our garden, which is kind of funny since we live in town only 1.5 miles from the state capitol.

We used to live quite rurally (or as our oldest son used to refer to it "Deliverance Country"), technically in Buckley but actually closer to Wilkeson and Carbonado, where our 2.5 acres were a good mile or so down a private gravel road and bordered on Plum Creek Timber property. We had quite a large garden and never once did we have a deer come in for a nosh or to inadvertently trample freshly planted beds. Now here we are in the middle of town with our little side-yard garden and we get hit by deer several times per season.

Last year we deployed a water-fueled Scarecrow, which was pretty effective when one remembered to turn it on at night. Unfortunately, deer are very good at detecting when the stupid humans go to bed without turning on the water supply. Leaving it on all the time was not an option because it is also quite good at detecting human movement in the garden and deploying the startling jet blast of cold water at the unsuspecting person coming out to weed the garden or take out the trash.

This year I think I may have inadvertently discovered another option for deer deterrent, baler twine

cedar stakes

Stand back! Protected by baler twine!

I say inadvertent because this setup was initially to encourage roaming neighborhood dogs and our own dogs (who, it must be said, are not so bright about keeping to the pathways when out in the garden with us) to stay out of the freshly planted garden beds earlier in the season. The stakes also do dual duty as hose guides when I'm out doing hand watering for freshly seeded areas.

I didn't think it would really do much for deer since they can easily jump even 6 foot fences, but it seems to have been a deterrent for this latest deer visit.

Because, the only nibbles were on the tomatoes and the peppers,

look ma, no twine!

where we had unfortunately run out of cedar stakes. A visit to Lowe's should take care of that today.

Garden Guy surmises that the deer (much like the crows and string) don't like to get their feet tangled in the string, which is not as predictable as a single tall fence to jump, so they avoid the stringed up areas. I hope this is true! We'll see how this theory holds up over the course of the season.

Monday, July 12, 2010

And suddenly, it was July

In the words of Inigo Montoya: Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

In summary? June was a craptastic month for gardening in Washington. If you live here you already know that, if you don't? The sixth month of the calendar year, known elsewhere either specifically as "June" or more generally as 'the beginning of Summer, was being referred to here as "June-u-ary" due to the fact that the weather was more like January than June.

Cold, grey, wet. Did I mention cold? That pretty much sums it up. I would add dismal and depressing as well simply because it felt like summer would never come. And also because the garden just wasn't making any progress.

The weather finally seems back on track but our garden is very behind this year. It's hard to say whether all the plantings will have time to be successful or not. If we're lucky and get a summery September and late fall frost we might just be able to turn this one around.

To start with, we were late planting this year. The trip to WA DC (along with all the pre-trip planning and shopping) set us back quite a bit from our usual schedule.. Throw in the exceptionally bad weather with seeds literally rotting in the ground from the cold wet, a bit of vandalism* that required replacing all of our pepper plants and crow damage to contend with (involving the loss of 3 beds of newly planted green beans) and you have what is probably our least successful garden to-date.

Speaking of crow damage, here's our latest attempt the thwart their annoying sprout pulling behavior:

The crow pentagram
(not really, but it does look like some kind of attempt at garden magic, yes?)

We've found that the crows seem to avoid activities that involve getting near or under the string so we set this up to try to protect the lone remaining winter squash seedling.

When is early corn really late? When it's not planted until July 1. It's a good thing we're growing a short season corn (Quickie - 64 days) , we may have just barely enough time to actually get some corn this year.

really late early corn

The tomatoes seem to coming right along now that the warm weather has hit. Our tomatoes are all short season varieties from Territorial Seed Company so we should manage a decent crop before fall. The Beaverlodge plant already has some tomatoes set:

baby tomato

Here's a better picture of the onions:

And finally, a couple of full views of the garden:

From the East (near the tomatoes)

From the West, near the driveway
(yep, still haven't managed to get rid of that last patch of sod)

*an added incentive to get that fence up as soon as time and finances allow! I like the open aspect of our current garden plan but a fence would keep the random dogs out (footprints in freshly planted beds are quite annoying) and discourage acts of opportunistic vandalism by bored teens/young adults.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


The onions are really doing great this year (due in part, I'm sure, to the fact that they were one of the few things planted on time).

No gardening took place today since Garden Guy and I were busy tearing out our kitchen countertops in preparation for new tile.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blogus Interruptus

Regularly scheduled garden blogging will resume this weekend.
(test post using my new Blogger iPhone app)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone