Our 2021 garden: still growing!

Today is likely to be the last hot day of the year. As I write this, we are currently at 26C/79F, with the humidex at 30C/86F. We are expected to reach 28C/83F with the humidex making it feel like 31C/88F. We are supposed to get a couple more days in the mid to low 20’s before the highs start dropping to the mid to high teens. So far, overnight temperatures are also still supposed to remain high enough that there are no frost warnings.

I headed out to do my rounds later than usual this morning, and we had already reached 22C/73F.

There has to be something wrong with the squash tunnel thermometer. It may have felt warmer than the 22C it was when I took this photo, but there is no way it was feeling like 42C/108F! Not even being in full sun, like it is, should result in that extreme of a difference. I suspect the dial is stuck. I haven’t been looking at it since the temperatures finally cooled down, so it may well have been sitting at this reading since our last heat wave.

In checking the sunflowers, there was only one little pollinator that I saw! I think the heat waves we had over the summer killed off a lot of our pollinators. There just wasn’t enough food to sustain them. The mild temperatures we are having means more of our sunflowers are actually budding and opening their seed heads, but I don’t know that they’ll have a chance to be well pollinated.

Some of the Mongolian Giants are finally taller than me. Hopefully, the opening sunflowers will lure any remaining pollinators to them. They may not have time to fully mature, even with our predicted mild temperatures, but they will at least provide some food for our surviving pollinators.

These are the Hopi Black Dye transplants that got chomped by a deer. They have all recovered surprisingly well, and are budding and blooming. They don’t need as long of a growing season as the Mongolian Giants, so it should be interesting to see if any of these get a chance to mature.

The green peas are enjoying the cooler temperatures we’ve been having, and I’m seeing more pods developing. This photo is of one of the pea plants growing among the Dorinny corn, the remains of which are being left to go to seed. The three blocks of sweet corn are still green, but they aren’t really growing. At this point, I don’t expect anything from them, really. They’re just there for the peas to have something to climb. Any pea pods we get is just gravy, as their main purpose is to fix nitrogen into the depleted soil in this area.

The winter squash and melons are the ones I am monitoring the most right now.

Remarkably, even as the plants are dying back, we are still getting fresh blooms, and the newer Red Kuri squash are getting noticeably bigger.

The mutant seems to have stopped getting bigger, and is now deepening in colour and developing a harder skin.

As this other, larger Red Kuri is still doing.

I did a nail test on the oldest of the developing Red Kuri, and you can see the mark left behind. Still not ready.

The Teddy squash are also still managing as well.

If we do end up getting frost before any of these larger squash can fully mature, we will still be able to harvest them and eat them. We just won’t be able to store them for long.

The melon vines are dying back faster than the winter squash vines, but their fruit are still hanging in there! I was able to pick this Pixie melon, only because the vine it was attached to had died back completely. I suspect it isn’t quite ripe.

My daughters discovered something about these little melons. After they are cut in half and the seeds scooped out, they make perfect ice cream bowls! I’m not big on ice cream, but I finally had some last night, in half of a Halona melon. It was quite excellent! 😀

I am glad we found these little, short season melons. They have been among the most enjoyed producers this year. I think we will try different short season varieties next year, but the Pixie and Halona are definitely varieties we would grow again. I’ve also saved seeds from some grocery store melons that I plan to try. They are larger varieties, but if we start them indoors early enough, and we don’t have another drought, we should be able to grow them. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: some pruning and cleanup – and we are forewarned!

While doing my rounds this morning, I decided it was time to do some pruning and clean up around the squash and melons.

With the summer squash, I cut away a lot of the bottom leaves, and anything dead or dying. The zucchini didn’t really need it, but the sunburst squash needed quite a bit.

Noting for next year: while I am happy with training the summer squash to grow vertically, and will probably do it again next year, I now know to make extra certain the support poles are more secure. I thought they were, but as you can see in about the middle of the squash bed, one of them has fallen right over under the weight of the squash attached to it – and I’d already added a second support pole with it! The zucchini on the far right of the photo is also tippy.

We are in a strange sort of state right now, where the squash and melons are continuing to bloom and produce, recovering for the extreme heat and dryness over the summer, but also dying off as they reach the end of their growing season. A couple of Halona melon plants were completely died off and got taken out. The single melon on the ground ground had come loose from one of those.

The three biggest Red Kuri squash are coming along nicely. The mottled green one is quite noticeably bigger. With the colours and slightly different shape, I find myself wondering if it got cross pollinated with one of the nearby Teddy squash.

Speaking of which…

There’s a new one! Of the two plants, one of them now has four squash developing on it. 🙂

After I finished pruning the squash and melons, I went through the other beds, doing a bit of cleanup, and found this.

We’ve somehow lost a sunflower!

It doesn’t even look like it was bitten – there is no sign of critter damage anywhere. It looks almost as if it were cut! It’s also in the middle of a row, in the middle of a sunflower block.

Very strange.

I took the seed head inside and put it in a very small bowl, shallow enough for the barely-there stem to reach the water. 🙂

As I was finishing up in the garden, the grader went by on the road, and the driver stopped to talk to me. He let me know that he’d seen a black bear – a big male – on our quarter section, and he thought it was heading for the newly dug out gravel pit for water. He’d actually seen 7 bears, just today! The most he’d ever seen in one day – and it wasn’t even 11:00 yet, at the time I talked to him. He suggested we might want to pick up an air horn to carry with us, so if we see a bear, we can use the noise to scare it off.

One of our neighbours, about a mile away, has been posting photos of a bear that’s been raiding – and destroying – his bird feeders. I would not be expecting any to come to our feeding station, though. With both bird feeders broken, I’ve just been tossing a scoop of seeds directly on the ground, so there’s not a lot to tempt them. Especially since we have zero saskatoons and chokecherries this year, and almost no crab apples, thanks to that one cold night in May. Even the ornamental apples in the old kitchen garden, which would normally be full of tiny bunches of apples, and birds eating them, have nothing. No hawthorn berries, either. Between the drought and the wildfires, this loss of berries would be quite widespread, and the bears are starving at a time they should be building up their fat reserves for the winter.

I really appreciated the grader driver stopping to let me know. I have never seen a bear in our yard, but this is not a normal year, so we will have to keep our eyes open!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: morning in the garden, and thinking ahead

What a lovely morning to finish up my rounds in the garden!

There are quite a few Mongolian Giant sunflowers opening their seed heads. Hopefully, we will see the Hopi Black Dye rows in this area opening soon. They are so cheerful! 🙂

I’m just so happy with how the Red Kuri squash are doing! Judging from how the stem looks, the oldest of the ripening squash, in its little hammock, is progressing quite well, and the other two larger ones are catching up nice and fast. Looking at the long range forecast, our overnight temperatures will continue to stay mild, with no frost on the horizon, which will be a huge benefit for all the plants that are recovering from the heat and drought conditions we had this summer. Lately, we’ve had enough rain that we have not needed to do any watering at all, which is helping a lot, too.

The largest of the Halona melons was ready to pick this morning, so…

… the hammock that was supporting it is now holding the larger of the new Red Kuri squash.

It has been a few days, so this morning, I spent some time picking beans.

I also thinned more of the Lounge Rouge Sang carrots.

I ended up using what vegetables we had in the fridge, as well, to make a use-watcha-got version of Hodge Podge. I used bacon fat instead of butter, all the carrots in the photo, some of all three types of beans, cut into smaller pieces, yellow onion, shallots and garlic, a bunch of little sunburst squash, a zucchini, and the chard we’d picked recently; the stems were removed and chopped to about the size of the beans, while the chopped leaves were added near the very end. Also, chunks of sausage for the protein. For a bit of texture, I tossed in some lightly crushed mixed nuts, too. Instead of water, I used vegetable broth, and the dairy at the end was a mix of sour cream, into which I’d stirred in the flour for thickening, and heavy cream. Since I used broth, no other seasonings were added.

The only downside is that the carrots turned the cream pink! 😀 It was not the most visually appealing of dishes as a result, but is sure was tasty!

While going over the garden and checking things out in general, we are going to have to start working on things that need to be planted at or just before fall. We have the two wildflower seed mixes that won’t be sown until fall, but we need to start preparing the areas now. We won’t be able to do actual seed beds, as the packets recommend, but we can still clear the areas as best we can and, for one set of seeds, hopefully use the riding mower to drag the little harrow I found under the spruce trees and loosen the soil a bit.

We also have the morel and giant puffball spores to “plant”. They need to be done by about the middle of September, if I understand the package directions properly. Unfortunately, where I wanted to put the morels still has a couple of branch piles that were supposed to get chipped. The giant puffballs needs a grassy area, and we have a few options, there. We just need to make a decision before preparing the spores.

We should have good weather for working outside for the next week or so, which will be a huge help.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: first bloom!

This is so very late in the season, but it finally happened.

Our first Hopi Black Dye sunflower seed head is opening!

When the seeds we’d started indoors neglected to germinate until after we’d already direct seeded outside, there was just one for a while. That one got transplanted into the old kitchen garden, and when a second seedling sprouted, it was planted here as well. Then a whole bunch sprouted, and they got transplanted to the main garden.

Of the two that were planted here, the first one was broken by high winds and did not recover, so there is just this one, now.

However, this one plant has three seed heads forming! The third one is mostly hidden under a leaf to the left of the one that’s opening.

It should be interesting to see how far they are able to develop before first frost hits!

Meanwhile, our recent rains have given us more sunflowers. Sort of.

This is where the large birdhouse landed, when the raccoons broke it. It had been almost full of black oilseed. The critters ate most of it, but as you can see, that still left lots behind to start sprouting! I think recently mowing over this area gave them the sunlight they needed to explode like this.

I’ve read that sunflower seedlings make for tasty microgreens. I don’t plan to harvest this out of the lawn, but one of these days, I think we should give it a try. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: morning in the garden

While checking on the sunflowers this morning, I found one of the Mongolian Giant seed heads finally starting to open.

I had actually expected this one to open up first. Look how dark the middle is!

Hard to believe this is the same type of sunflower as this…

They look completely different!

One of the smaller seed heads sprouting out the side is starting to open, too.

With our fall planting, only a few of the rainbow chard has survived the grasshoppers and the heat. Enough that, when they are large enough, we can find out if we actually like chard! 😀

The lettuces protected by the window screen covered frame are coming up quite nicely! It’ll still be a while before they are large enough to start picking baby greens for salads, but being under the adapted cover, they should be protected from both groundhogs and insects, so I expect to actually have some this time. Unlike our first planting in the spring, that got eaten before we’d had more than a handful ourselves! Even the weather is supposed to be cooler and potentially rainier, over the next while, so we won’t have to use the shade clothes, either.

As rough of a gardening year it has been, we’re still getting some produce, and I’m happy with that!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: onions harvested, first melons, and more carnage

Today has turned out to be – so far – not as hot as predicted. On the down side, the smoke came back with a vengeance this morning. It has gotten better since then, thankfully.

While heading out to move the sprinkler, yesterday, I spotted Butterscotch and her brood.

I’m not sure if this is Bradicous or Chadicous. Either way, he’s adorable!

While tending the furthest garden beds, Butterscotch and her babies went through the squash tunnel on their way to the neighbour’s farm across the road. So much space they could have gone through, and they chose the squash tunnel! 😀

I also saw a lot of birds in the garden. They were appreciating the water on the ground from the sprinkler!

I decided to pick the two biggest, oldest melons to check them out. The one on the left is a Halona melon, and the one on the right is a Pixie.

Here, the Halona is at the top, and the Pixie at the bottom.

First thing I could tell is that they were not fully ripe yet. So we knew, when we taste tested them, that they were harder and less sweet than they should be.

They were still very tasty, though. General consensus is that we like the Pixie a bit better than the Halona, though it was really hard to pick one as better than the other.

With the weather predictions including thunderstorms over the next few days, I decided it was time to harvest the rest of the onions.

The canopy has been moved over the picnic table, so that’s where we set up the screens to lay them out on.

The screen with the fewest onions on them are the ones grown from sets I bought locally. About half of those had already been harvested earlier and are hanging in the root cellar.

The red unions are the sets we got from Veseys, and the screen in the middle has the onions we grew from seeds. These will stay outside until the soil is dried enough to brush it off and trim the roots. At that point, I will decide if I will leave them under the canopy to cure longer, or set them up in the root cellar. It will depend on the weather.

This morning, we are finally seeing yellow petals on the sunflowers! Most don’t even have heads developing yet. The Mongolian Giants are the only ones with developing heads right now. Given we’re in the second half of August right now, I don’t know that we have enough season left for them to develop. The sunflowers in the fields we pass are not only in full bloom, but today I drove by a field where the seed heads are already past blooming and starting to dry up.

In checking the rest of the beds this morning, I found this carnage in the purple corn.

Quite a number of stalks have been knocked down to the ground. From the looks of it, I think there may have been a cat fight in here or something. This is not the damage of a critter trying to eat the corn. I had to head out, so I left it until later today, when we’ll head out to clean up the mess. Hopefully, when it’s a bit cooler.

*sigh*

Anyhow.

Today I made a run to the nearer little city to do a Walmart run and pick up some more cat kibble, among other things. The smoke actually got thicker the further south and east I drove; most of the smoke we’d been getting before was from fires to the north. We are now getting predictions of possible thunderstorms starting tonight, which would go a long way to helping with the wildfires. I’m debating whether we should do an evening watering of all the garden beds or not. Some beds, like the tomatoes, got done already. Though we didn’t reach the predicted highs, I still had to run the hose into the rain barrel for a while, to get rid of the hot water, first. Otherwise, it would have scalded the plants. After letting it run, our well water still is not getting cold like it usually does. Even our ground water is warm! Which means there’s no danger of shocking the plants, I guess. I watered the potato bags, and those looked like something went crashing over them, too. Those, at least, can handle it better than the corn!

This year’s gardening has certainly been a learning experience.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: back at it

As I write this, in the early afternoon, we have reached 30C/86F, with a humidex of 35C/95F. Our high of the day is expected to reach 35C/95F with the humidex at 40C/104F. Thankfully, this is supposed to be the hottest day for the next while, but it means that we’re back at watering the garden at least once a day.

At least this time, I had a full rain barrel to use in the garden beds by the house, while the sprinkler was running in the furthest beds.

With the upstairs so hot during the day, the girls are still staying up all night, so my old daughter can work on her commissions. They still have to put ice packs around their electronics – and themselves – to keep things from overheating.

Since they were still up during the cool of the morning, they did a bit of harvesting, and this was waiting for me when I got up.

We actually have summer squash to pick! The cayenne pepper seems to be working and keeping the grogs (groundhogs) away. This is the most we’ve been able to gather all summer.

They also picked a single red crab apple for me. ❤

It was delicious.

The summer squash bed now has one of the sprinkler hoses I found by the grog den a while back, so they can be watered from below more easily. I set the other one up through two bean beds, but half of the hose seems to have clogged holes. I think they will clear as the hose is used more often.

I’m rather encouraged by these tomatoes. The wilted one is the branch that broke off in the wind, and that I just stuck into the ground. The leaves may be wilted, but the stem is still strong, and the tomatoes that are on it are ripening.

I found a surprise while watering the tomatoes.

This cluster of seedlings has emerged from the new garden soil we recently added!

My initial thought was more sunflowers from the bird feeder, but these actually look a bit like squash seedlings.

We’ll leave them to see what they turn out to be.

Unless the grogs eat them, first.

The sweet corn may be small, but they are maturing. The middle block is maturing the fastest, while the northernmost block the slowest. The southern block has one half maturing faster than the other. This area gets shade in the morning, but at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. The Eastern side, however, would still have shade longer than the rest, and that is likely why the plants are shorter on that side.

It does not seem to matter as much for the sunflowers.

The earliest Mongolian Giant flower heads are progressing nicely.

Even the ones that got chomped by deer are recovering. These are the Hopi Black Dye sunflowers, transplanted next to the Dorinny corn, where the entire row had lots their heads.

You can see the cayenne pepper on the sunflower leaves. Since we are using the sprinklers to water things, we’ll need to reapply it at the end of the day.

On the garden cam, I spotted a big raccoon headed towards the summer squash. It reached a plant, touched it with its nose, and pulled back its head like it got bitten, then ambled around the squash bed, avoiding the plants.

When setting up the sprinkler on the purple corn, I noticed a cob with husks that looked quite dried up. I took a chance and harveted it.

It’s ripe!! Small, not completely pollinated, but still pretty full, and the deep, dark purple it’s supposed to be. I found one other little one with dried husks and picked that, too.

With only two of them, I went to the Dorinny corn and picked what I could there, too.

It isn’t a lot for four people, but enough for part of a meal!

I’m thinking of moving the BBQ my brother gave us to the canopy, so we can grill in the shade. Corn on the grill would be awesome! We’ve got some sirloin steaks from the meat pack we got thawing out, and the summer squash are prepped for grilling. I don’t know if we’ll be up to grilling in this heat, but if not, the vegetables can be roasted.

Either way, I’m looking forward to an excellent Sunday dinner!

The Re-Farmer

This morning’s finds

There always seems to be something new to find when I do my rounds!

Some are good, some are not so good, and some are… kind of in between. 😀

Finding holes in the ground from skunks digging for grubs is not unusual. This morning, however, it was VERY unusual! I found probably a hundred off them over by the sweet corn and sunflower blocks! They were in the open areas around them, but also right in among them.

The skunks (I’m assuming there was more than one) seem to have worked their way through two corn blocks and about one and a half sunflower blocks. Only the corn block furthest north was completely untouched. Judging from how many holes there were, I’m guessing it had something to do with very full little bellies!

Before we planted here, and were just mowing, I never saw divots. My guess is that the area was so dry and sun baked, there simply weren’t any grubs in the soil. Now that we’ve started to amend the soil and have been watering regularly, plus all the rain we’ve recently had, it’s now a skunk buffet!

I don’t mind the skunks digging up the grubs. They have no interest in the plants. The only problem was that some of their digging was close enough to our already struggling corn and sunflower plants, that roots were exposed. I worked my way through the rows, pushing the soil back into those holes, at least. The others, I left. There were just too many, and I don’t care if the weeds have their roots exposed!

It took a long time, but we now have our very first vine making its way across the top of the squash tunnel! This luffa had reached the top some time ago, but not gone over.

The winter squash still has a ways to go, but it’s working on it!

Had conditions been more ideal, this structure would at least have had the walls completely covered in vines by now, if not the “roof” as well. Given what a tough year for the garden it has been, I’m quite pleased with what we have!

The girls moved the canopy tent over the picnic table by the fire pit for me this morning, so I dragged a hose over to give the table a bit of a power wash. While there, I checked out the nearby currant bush.

We only rarely watered this bed by the fire pit at all this year, yet the currant actually has a few berries on it! After picking these, I checked on the two currant bushes near the main garden beds and found a few more. Those ones did get watered more often, but are located under trees. They get a lot less sunlight, and even with the rains we’ve been having, they would have gotten less. The one by the fire pit is on the south side of the maple grove and has no overhanging branches, so even with almost no watering, it has more berries. Even so, the berries are a lot smaller and less juicy than they should be. I’m surprised there are any at all, to be honest!

This morning, I fussed around with the potato grow bags. Some of them were falling over, so I secured them to the chain link fence, then straightened the bags out again; the tops of the bags are more to keep critters out than anything else.

In the process, I uncovered this little guy.

So incredibly adorable!!!

Finding one is exciting enough, but then I found this slightly bigger one!

This one wasn’t too impressed with my moving the bags around. 😀

These are probably my favourite type of frog. 😀 And we’ve seen so many of them, as well as the more common wood frogs, this year!

As we develop our permanent garden beds, providing shelter and moisture for frogs is on our list of things to include. 🙂

Today is supposed to be our last comfortable day before the heat comes back, and no rain is predicted for a few more days, so I will be heading out to apply cayenne pepper to some of our garden beds after this. Especially our purple beans. Checking the garden cam this morning, I caught a young buck in the garden, nibbling on something. The summer squash was blocking the view, but there is only one thing where that buck was standing; our purple beans. I didn’t even notice the damage, this morning! The purple beans are a lot bushier and leafy than the other types, but it likely explains why I’m not seeing as many beans on there. I think the deer are actually avoiding the leaves to eat the beans, instead, judging from what I do see, when I am looking closely to find beans to pick.

We keep our containers from things like sour cream, and had one with a transparent lid. I poked a whole bunch of little holes in the lid, then emptied the bulk packages of cayenne pepper into the 500ml container, to create a shaker. I’m hoping the holes aren’t too small. We shall see how it works!

The Re-Farmer

We have rain!!! Lots of rain!

As I write this, we’ve had several rainfalls, and even a couple of downpours. We’ve had more rain today than we have had all year until now! It is so exciting!

We actually got our first bit of rain this morning, while I was quickly doing my rounds. In fact, it was a bit of a problem at the time. While changing the micro disc cards on the driveway cam, the card I took out of the camera slipped through my fingers and fell to the ground.

I never found it.

I had a fresh card to put in and came back several times today, and nothing. I have extras, but I’d really hate to have lost it completely!

When checking the garden beds, I found a couple more sunflowers got nibbled on.

Almost every one of the transplanted Mongolian Giant sunflowers in this row have had their head bitten off. 😦

The culprit was caught on the garden cam!

Anyhow.

This morning, I made a trip to the smaller city to do the Walmart part of our monthly shopping, then swung by town on the way home to pick up my husband’s prescription refills. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized mine weren’t in there. I’ll have to remember to call them and get mine delivered. I only have one prescription, compared to my husband’s bubble packs and injections.

I wanted to make sure I got all the errands done early, because we were going to have visitors this evening. My brother and his wife were going to swing by, on their way to somewhere else. I’ve been sharing photos of the garden progress with them, and they wanted to see it in person.

It was while they were on the way over that the first thunderstorm hit. It stopped and started a couple of times, then stopped before they arrived. Meanwhile, during their drive, they saw no rain at all! It wasn’t until they got close that they finally saw wet highway. When they got here, we did the tour, including my showing them where the groundhogs have been hiding out.

I saw one crossing by the spruce grove just before they arrived, heading under the junk pile. When I took a look, there it was, watching me!!!

The cheeky little bugger.

While checking out around the junk pile, I was disappointed to see this.

These are Saskatoon bushes. We have a couple of them here, and they are in terrible shape. Not only do they show signs of fungal disease, but their leaves are riddled with insect damage, and little growths where insect eggs are. There is even a sudden grown of lichen on the trunks and branches! Lichen is supposed to be slow growing, yet these bushes, and even the dead branches on nearby spruce trees, have suddenly turned bright green and thick. Or perhaps it’s just the rain waking up what was already there? That sounds more likely.

There are a few places where we will have to clear out the diseased trees and bushes, then not plant anything nearby for a few years.

We were just finishing off our tour of the garden beds with my brother and his wife when it started to rain heavily again. We still have the gazebo tent set up, where we had painted the kibble house. The kibble house it back where it goes, so we had plenty of room to be sheltered from the rain, while still enjoying the lovely cool wind and freshness. They were really hoping some of the rain would make it their way; they’ve been pretty much as dry as we have, and while they have had a bit more rain than we have this year, it’s been more like a tease than anything else.

When the rain let up a little big, we made a dash to the pump shack. I had asked my brother if he remembered when the pump got changed, and he wanted to see what I was talking about.

He had no idea.

He remembers better than I do, what the set up was like before, when there was a motor to operate the pump with electricity. When I pointed out that the current pump was not attached to anything, but just sitting on the pipes, loose enough to move while I was pumping, he mentioned something interesting. It seems the pipes into the well are “floating”, and the pump itself will actually move up and down with the water table. !! He also described the piston system at the bottom of the well. The fact that I could get water but couldn’t keep it going suggest to him that the O rings are giving out.

We are still left with the mystery of what happened to the motor and the frame that supported it.

Later this evening, my mother phoned and I remember to ask her about it. Not only does she not remember, but as far as she knew, there was never electricity to that pump. She insisted it was only ever manual. This tells me that it was my dad that had it set up, after they moved out here. As far as I remember, there was always the electric system, which suggests that it was installed in the 5 or so years before I was born, but my mother no longer remembers this at all. I find that a rather strange thing to forget!

Which leaves us with the mystery of what happened to the old pump system. I suppose it’s possible my late brother had it removed, perhaps with plans to get the old well repaired? I can’t think of any other reason someone would have removed it. If he had, however, the parts and pieces would still be around, and they aren’t. So what happened to it?

It seems that there is no longer anyone alive that could tell us.

By the time we were done looking at the pump, it was starting to pour again, and my brother and his wife still had other places to do, so they had to quickly head out. I’m really happy they were able to stop by, and we could show them how things have been going. Including with the woodchucks. My brother brought up a possible solution, and it’s one I’d already taken steps towards. Hopefully, it’ll work and I’ll be able to post about being free of woodchucks! We shall see. Until the problem is solved, however, I’m not even going to try to plant the fall spinach and lettuces I was planning on. I’m not going to go through the effort, only to have it eaten!

I think I may have come up with a way to keep the grasshoppers off, too. They are decimating our poor radish and kale seedlings as thoroughly as the groundhogs have been wiping out our carrot beds!

At least our garden beds have finally had a thorough soaking. No amount of watering with the house can match a good, solid rainfall!

Here’s hoping the rain helped with the wildfires to the north of us, too!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: morning damage

I have a bit of time before I head off to pick up our meat pack, and just had to make a quick post.

It was a bad morning in the garden.

While heading over to switch out the memory card on the garden cam, the very first thing that I saw was this.

Of the surviving Dorinny corn, there was one plant on its own at the very end of a row. It is now in two rows.

The critter didn’t even eat the whole thing. It just chomped on half a corn cob.

Another Dorinny corn got it’s developing cob torn off and nibbled on.

This one got to me. These are the transplanted Hopi Black Dye sunflowers. The ones we started indoors months ago, but didn’t actually germinate until all the others were direct sown or transplanted. While small, they had been doing well. Now, all but one have their heads chopped off, and the one that didn’t, is broken.

You can see the single surviving pink celery transplant, near it. That got ignored, at least.

Then there’s this. You can even see the hoof print in the ground!

This is the purple corn, way on the other side of the garden. The last two corn in this row had already been partially eaten and were growing back, only to be eaten again. A third one has it’s tall stalk broken right off, and you can see it lying on the ground. Thankfully, that was as far as the damage went, with the purple corn.

And here we have our culprit! At least for the Dorinny corn and sunflowers. The tracks in the purple corn head in the opposite direction, so it was either another deer, or this deer took the scenic route.

In the trail cam files, I did see a woodchuck in the sweet corn during the day, but there was no damage to that corn. It looked like it was eating the grass or weeds in the path.

The woodchuck – or another of them – is likely the cause of this damage, in one of the summer squash. It’s definitely not a deer that did this.

*sigh*

Later today, I’ll be moving some of the things we put around the tulips to keep critters away. The tulips have died back and they are no longer needed there. The bells and spinners would probably be useful in startling critters. Clearly, the flapping grocery bags, motion activated light and aluminum tart pans are no longer enough.

I suppose the damage is pretty minimal, given how much we’ve got planted overall, but even a little bit adds up after a while. It’s so frustrating.

When we plant trees where the temporary garden beds are now, we at least know we’ll have to take extra steps to protect the saplings from critter damage.

The Re-Farmer