When you all last saw the garden I was just getting around to planting my seeds and seedlings and hoping that they would have a bright and happy future as vegetables! It’s been a while since then and I’m sure that inquiring minds want to know – what’s up with those baby plants?
Well, for starters, check out all that greenery up there! We’ve had a surprisingly good season – lots of rain is alternating with abundant sunshine in equal measure. This is pretty much a plantly sweet spot- and is also reducing the sheer amount of watering that I have to do, so it’s hard to complain. The box contains various red leafed lettuces, carrots that claim to be orange, white, and purple, scallions, and of course, bean plants. The poor beans have had a few misadventures that I’ll describe in a moment, but everyone seems to be getting along for the moment. I’d like to plant some beets again, but will try that later this summer since they apparently require a cool period to grow properly, something I didn’t know last year. Thanks, Grow Great Grub for putting me on the right track!
We’re finally getting some little cherry tomatoes! The big red guys appear to be setting some fruit as well. Alas, the Lemon Boys, my eagerly-anticipated yellow tomatoes, appear to be dropping blossoms left and right. Do I not have the right insects coming to pollinate them? Are they objecting to the mighty winds we’ve had lately? Are they just rotten quitters? Who knows, but I’m getting a little sick of their attitudes.
Meanwhile, the “patio” tomatoes, bought for their ability to grow well in a container, seem to be holding in there with what fruit they came with, although also dropping any new blossoms. Perhaps they and the Lemon Boys need to be separated; can’t have dissension spreading through the ranks.
Doesn’t it do your heart good to see a bean plant start to put out flowers? The silly paper collar that this one is wearing is related to part one of the troubles I alluded to earlier. About a week after I planted the beans, they sprouted, as is the wont of beans. A few days after that I came out to check on things and found about half of them sawed in half! As Mr. Menace put it, they looked as though they’d been savaged by tiny beavers. I did some research in my books and discovered that the most likely culprit was cutworms, evil caterpillars that live in the soil and munch wee baby plants in sort of circular motion. The solutions offered were to buy parasitic nematodes to suck the life out of the caterpillars, or to collar my baby bean plants like a dog with a broken leg. I elected for the simpler, cheaper, and slightly sillier solution. I replanted the beans in their cones of shame. Another week goes by. Little bean plants stretch toward the sun! No more are cut down in the prime of their lives. The cutworms presumably die slow, miserable deaths of starvation, as they deserve.
And then the squirrels came.
Apparently, squirrels like cardboard. Apparently, they like it so much that they have an utter disregard for what it might be surrounding. Like, for example, baby bean plants.
Once again, I go down to my garden to check on my babies in all innocence. Once again, I am greeted with carnage.
Here is the scene:
1. Random hole in center of the garden, serving no discernible purpose.
2. Cardboard chewed to into bits which are then scattered about like confetti.
3. Uprooted baby bean plants, withering in the sun.
So apparently there was a squirrel bachelor party in my garden, and the beans were sad victims of their excess. Luckily, we had a simple solution to this problem: we cut some pieces of wire to thread through the bird netting, and effectively locked them out.