I heard a rumor that spring is coming…and with spring comes the beginnings of those dreams of an amazing garden in my backyard that will supply us with fresh vegetables all summer and fall.
But first let me share some my garden sage or How My Garden Does Not Grow!
Year 1 – Our new home in the South, lovely large fenced yard, perfect place for a garden and we can begin sooner than we ever could in Ohio. So we prepared the chosen location for our wonderful garden, and planted our seeds and plants, and awaited our bountiful crop.
All was going well, we actually had produce appearing, it was exciting. Then it happened…one afternoon I was inspecting my garden, as I did just about every day, and counted about 20 nice sized green tomatoes. I was so excited because I knew that in a few days they would be ripe and ready to pick.
Imagine my surprise the next day when I went out to inspect my garden and every single tomato was gone. Gone, not a trace, nothing!! I looked twice, three times and then started to doubt my sanity. But no, I know they were there…where had they gone? My first thought was Big Foot…yes I actually thought that. We have a 6 foot solid wood fence around our entire yard so I knew it wasn’t deer, and squirrels are notoriously messy eaters so I knew it couldn’t be them. Big Foot was my only answer! Of course the reality was, it was most likely raccoons who ventured over our fence saw the lovely vegetables and decided it was party time…fried green tomatoes and a movie! However, I am still sticking with Big Foot.
The rest of the yield from our garden was okay, but not as great as we had hoped. Lesson learned: animals will eat your garden unless you take precautions against that and don’t forget Big Foot.
Year 2 – Time for a new strategy…we need something to keep the critters (and Big Foot) out of our garden. Solution (thought up by my creative husband)…a garden cage created from a car port frame, wire fencing, zip ties and a lot of hard work. It took us about 6 weekends (and assistance from family and friends) to get this creation up and fashioned in a way that we could work with it. We even put wire fencing on the ground to keep critters from coming in that way. This garden cage is staked into the ground at regular intervals, it has been grounded from lighting strikes, and will withstand a hurricane, tornado and Big Foot attack. To further assure our success we decided to plant in containers. So we gathered our containers, drilled holes in them to allow for drainage, filled them with very good soil, installed a watering system on a timer, planted our crops and awaited our harvest. But alas, it was not to be. No animals got our plants but between a very wet summer, not enough sun getting to the plants and perhaps a bit of over and under watering on a few occasions our yield was dismal to say the least. Lesson learned: once plants are safe from critters (and Big Foot) they need the correct amount of water and sun to provide a yield.
Year 3 (this year) – New strategy. We will use the garden cage, but we will do raised beds. We had heard that container gardening does not yield as well as planting in the ground so we decided to try this approach. We spent two weekends building our raised beds, getting them square, pegging them into the ground, and the dirt put into them. They are now ready for me to put the plants in when the time comes.
I have even started seeds in the garage, where they are doing nicely and in a few days I will transplant them into the raised beds in the garden cage. We are adjusting our watering time-table, and are hoping for a dryer warmer summer so the plants get what they need. With any luck and some tender care this year we will have fresh vegetables and perhaps plenty to share with others.
Stay tuned to my blog to see how My Garden Grows or Not, this year.
Happy Gardening to everyone!