Archive for April, 2010

Animal Shelter

Sunday, April 25th, 2010


I saw the first groundhog before the snow was melted, and the deer were checking out my veggie garden long before anything had actually sprouted. In the past, I’d struggled mightily against woodchucks, even going so far as installing a small electric fence (it didn’t work). I’d never seen any evidence of deer in the back yard, but they have become more plentiful during the last decade, and part of our perimeter fence is missing.

During the first week of April, I built 3 wooden frames to fit on top of my 4×4′ garden squares, and used them to support chicken wire cages. Shown above are two cages that I’m hoping will be tall enough to contain the peas that are just starting to sprout.

3 weeks later, the peas are beginning to vine, but are not close to blooming. The lettuce and arugula should be ready to harvest next week, and I’ve already been snacking on radishes (right front above). My assumption is that young pea vines and lettuce are candy to deer and groundhogs, and I don’t see any evidence of attack, so I’m guardedly optimistic about my animal shelters.

The mild spring encouraged me to risk planting some tomatoes before the last frost date. I bought an Early Girl at the nursery. planted her the 2nd week of April, and she’s been blooming for a week. A couple days after that, I planted the first group of the heritage tomatoes I started from seed in early March. They are doing well, also. The lambs lettuce is barely sprouting–I wonder what I did wrong. I didn’t really do much to improve the soil for the first lettuce bed, but I carefully used some of my limited supply of compost in a another 4×4, planting more lettuce and lambs lettuce, and putting another chicken wire cap over the top. When it rained, I put a cardboard sheet on top. Three weeks later, all this tender loving care has resulted in maybe a half dozen little lettuce plants that don’t look like they will be eating size before hot weather kicks in.