Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Garden fail

This has not been the best garden year here in the Middle of Nowhere. It started out great, full of promise, as most gardens do. Because I was working part-time, it was good that I left much of the space fallow this year. I haven't had time to weed what's there, let alone what could have been there if I'd planted the entire plot.

The strawberries didn't produce much at all – enough for a bowl of cereal, maybe. The birds ate the blackberries, one by one as each little shiny black berry ripened. I finally bought bird netting, but alas – it was too late.

I'm ready for next year, though!

I got a few snow peas and snap peas, enough for a stir-fry or two. And that was great. I'll probably devote more space to early-spring crops next year. (Gardeners never quit figuring out how they can do it better next time. I guess that means we're good learners.)

The big fail is the tomatoes. (If you're a Facebook friend, you already know this story. Apologies.) I noticed the Cherokee Purple looked a little lopsided a couple mornings ago, so I ventured out to find that the fruits were gone. I then looked to the left, where the Amish Pastes, Vilms Paste and yellow Oxhearts were flourishing, to find not a single damned tomato in the whole bed.

The deer had had a feast.

I knew this day would come, sometime. I've been warned and warned and warned that every year the deer get bolder and braver. They figure I'm planting all this food just for them. They'd already eaten the edamame leaves. (I managed to freeze exactly one quart-sized bag of shelled edamame.)

I was astonished at how thorough they were, though.

They also ate the leaves from the sweet potato vines, and I understand potatoes need leaves to develop. I haven't taken a shovel out there to see if any baby sweet potatoes had started to grow or not. I'm still mourning my tomatoes.

The Oxheart still has some flowers and the Cherokee Purple has two green tomatoes the deer somehow missed. One was quite large, so I brought it in to ripen indoors. And the deer haven't found the Sweet and Neat cherry tomato plant on the patio. They'd have to be pretty bold to come that close to the house.

The other garden area that remains untouched is the new herb bed. Maybe they were too full from eating tomatoes. Or perhaps their cunning little brains are letting me think the herbs are safe this year, and they'll make a meal out of it next year.

I found it very amusing that two jalapeƱos remained on the ground with bite marks in them. Serves them right! I'm thinking of planting a jalapeƱo border next year.

What worked? Onions and garlic. Success. Big success. Enough success that I'm sharing the garlic and have onions sets ready to plant for a fall crop.

And basil. I'm really, really pleased that deer don't seem to have a taste for basil. In addition to devoting a section of the herb bed to it, I also have 10 lush, gorgeous, fragrant plants right next to the Cherokee Purple. All of them intact.

Perhaps I should be a pesto farmer. 'Cause I clearly can't take care of tomatoes.

I got some great advice for a product from a Facebook friend, which I will be putting to use next year. I also will be getting new! stronger! fencing. And maybe a solar-powered motion detector deterrent. (I put it on my amazon.com wish list to think about.)

Grateful for onions and garlic. Grateful for the salsa and tomatoes I've already canned. Grateful (kinda) that the food garden season for me is, essentially, over. Garden fail and garden fatigue rarely coincide.

4 comments:

  1. At my house, long ago, the same story could be told with annuals and bulbs and bunnies.

    I had been forwarned and had planted all 500+ bulbs with pepper powder, hair and bone meal in every hole.

    They ate all 500 bulbs.

    And then just to show me who was boss, they dug up a different colored bulb from a neighbors and planted it where I had never planted one bulb. That tulip blooms each year, they never touch it.

    so I tried annuals in the same areas and they ate every leaf of those. salad bar.

    I switched to daffodils and irises, and day lilies and they have left those alone.

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  2. Luckily we're living on the 4th floor. No flying deer this year! Didn't have many tomatoes, though. Each single one was delicious! I picked them when putting laundry up to dry. ^^

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  3. Don't get too complacent about deer coming up close to the house! We had a hop vine planted right next to the back door. The deer ate it down to the ground. Last week a deer was right at the back door, within my arms reach if I'd had the door open. She took a bite of my vinca and I had to speak to her harshly.
    Oh, and I'm in on the yarn thing.
    A Longtime Lurker

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  4. I don't have deer - my garden is contained in my small patio area that is surrounded by 6-ft wooden fence on three sides (and my house on the 4th side), so deer would have a hard time jumping in and out of my garden (although it would be fun to watch if they could do it!)

    However, the smaller critters that I do have do plenty of damage. Something is eating holes in the leaves of everything now - flowers and tomatoes. And something eats every single strawberry as soon as it's ripe.

    Now, my "big" tomatoes - that is the only ones actually growing aside from the "tiny tims" have finally started to turn from green to yellow to orange...not sure if they'll turn red or not - wish I could remember what kind they are so I can look that up. In any case, something is taking bites out of the middle of those also!

    Sorry your crops were destroyed to thoroughly, but you're definitely not alone!

    BTW, my word to "prove I'm not a robot" is "veginal" - sort of sounds like some part of a vegetables reproductive system! :-)

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