activities, gardening, kitchen garden, summer, vegetables

The best-laid plans of gardeners

It’s been some time since we’ve visited the container garden. Let’s take a stroll, shall we?

Here’s the basic layout: broad beans (the happy tall stalks in the corner); sugar snap peas climbing those bamboo trellises; one strawberry plant; onions flanking tomatoes and peppers; garlic and carrot shoots; lettuce; hyssop; an attempt at a Three Sisters planting (corn, green beans, and pumpkin); and rhubarb, generously given by my friend Gaia. There’s lavender and lobelia, too, to pretty up the backyard.

A bit different from my original plans, right? While some of the seeds I started came up vigorous and healthy, some of the others grew anemic and spindly. And after I hardened them off and planted them in containers, we endured epic torrential rains. First in the spring, then just a few weeks ago. Day after day of rain, rain, endless rain, can do a number on your tender plants. And downpours from southern tropical storms can tear the leaves of your rhubarb plant to shreds.

Yes, shreds.

We’ve also discovered that our squirrels are vicious, vicious creatures. Since we moved in last summer, we didn’t have a chance to find this out during the regular growing season. But oh, are we learning. They shimmy up drainpipes, they cling to our second-floor window screens, and they nibble at my almost-ripe strawberries to show who’s really in charge. (Hint: it’s not me.)

Nevertheless, we persevere. Next week I’ll give you a glimpse of the “squirrel vault” Josh and I built to keep out those dastardly rodents. After the torrential rains, I replaced some of my drowned seedlings with more vigorous starts from the farmers’ market and the store, and they’re happily taking root. And while it’s momentarily disappointing to see plants brought low by weather or critters, I’m excited to see what this adjusted garden will produce over the summer. (I’m also accepting any and all advice for dealing with squirrels, which are quickly becoming my fiercest enemies.)

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4 thoughts on “The best-laid plans of gardeners”

  1. Sad! I hope the squirrels don't like peppers, or I'm going to be pissed! My plants are getting destroyed by moth caterpillars and aphids. I have to go out daily and check under all the leaves for egg sacs. But our biggest threat is the 98-degree heat. Yeehaw!

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  2. I am so glad I have stumbled across your blog because 1) historical recipes! my mother would love this; and 2) I can relate to the gardening. Our vegetables got eaten by so many animals last year, so this year we are trying to focus on just keeping our herbs healthy and maybe we'll try to expand again next year!

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  3. Thanks for stopping by! I love the recipes on your blog, and I'm so jealous that you're going to Italy! I'm sorry your vegetables got eaten–unfortunately, animals seem to love them as much as we do. Good luck with your garden.

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