Garden Log 7-10-07

July 10, 2007

It’s been a while since the last garden update but I’m afraid this one isn’t going to be pretty! In fact I wouldn’t dare post photos of the terrifying scenes that I’m about to describe.

The garden is currently under lock down and on a high security alert. There are no outside visitors invited or admitted, all the fences have been secured, and the entire perimeter is being inspected for holes and breaches.

Signs of Trouble in the Garden

What was shaping up as a perfect growing season just a couple of weeks ago has been tempered by the disturbing signs of destruction from an unwelcome intruder.

Those slow growing okra plants that were finally beginning to take off… completely defoliated! Cabbages that were ready for harvesting… shredded like cole slaw! The gorgeous prized tomatoes waiting in line to ripen are being snatched from the vines and left lying half eaten throughout the garden.

And wait… “Are those teeth marks that I see scratched into the sides of my sweet bell peppers?” Sure enough! That does it, enough is enough. Now I’m ready to take up arms and start shooting! But I don’t even know who is causing all of the chaos?

So far I haven’t gotten a single glimpse of the culprit, despite the increased patrols out to the garden. It’s almost as if the wile-e critter has been casing the garden and knows my every move, or has a complete schedule of when I’ll be away from home. Guess it’s time for a stake out.

Gardening Espionage and Warfare

At this point anyone in the vicinity is under suspicion and will have to pay the price. That box turtle that was living comfortably in the garden, well he’s been exiled and last seen heading north. The baby bunny that’s been taking cover under the deck; there’s a wanted poster out on him too.

I know they’re both innocent and couldn’t have done all the damage that I’m seeing, but this is war. The Havahart trap is set and baited with carrots, a piece of melon, and some bubble gum. Hey, like I said, everyone’s a suspect and I’m covering all of my bases with the bait that I’m using.

My guess is that I’m on the verge of another full-blown groundhog conflict, but this adversary is somehow different; wiser, faster, sneakier. I’ll have to dig deeper into my bag of tips and tricks to capture this Ninja groundhog. I may even have to resort to a few “Caddyshack” style ambushes.

On a Brighter Note

I do have some good news to report from the garden. The heirloom eggplants are growing extremely well and producing a variety of assorted shapes and colors of fruits, with barely any flea beetle activity. The eggplants are four foot high, bushy, and growing larger by the day. We’ve also had plenty of good rainfall finding its way upon the garden.

My squash seeds were planted just a couple of weeks ago, that will mean a late harvest but hopefully the squash bugs will be fooled into thinking that I didn’t plant any and go looking elsewhere. The fingerling potatoes are tall and healthy, a sure sign that there are loads of tubers forming below.

Colorful carrots, parsnips, and beets are also growing well and should yield a productive crop. Despite the mysterious raid and loss of several of the best looking fruits, the tomato vines are already taller than I am and look to be producing a large crop of tomatoes. Hopefully the intruder will allow some of them to ripen.

Current Harvesting and Planting

The garlic scapes have been harvested from the plants and I should be digging my gourmet garlic bulbs and potato onions within a couple of weeks. I’ve also been enjoying tasty harvests of various greens, cucumbers, rhubarb, Swiss Chard, and fresh herbs.

I was able to beat the suspected woodchuck to a few nice heads of Jersey Wakefield and Savoy cabbages in between the attacks that ruined the remaining plants. The cabbages will be joining some yellow fleshed potatoes for tonight’s dinner.

Finally, it’s time to start gearing up for the fall vegetable garden. Later this week I’ll plant broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and a few oriental vegetable seeds indoors under the grow lights. That is if I can tear myself away from standing guard over the garden beds!

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • Is it possible it’s deer? Honestly…that is horrible! I’m so bummed for you…

    Pests…darn them…

  • I wonder if it is raccoons? They can be quite distructive and are nocturnal.
    You have my sympathies.

  • Deer and groundhogs did a number on my garden (a little over 1/2 an acre) that came to a quick halt when I installed a fence. I also found they didn’t like the smell of humans.

    I placed hair clipping around the fence and on my pole beans fence if they decided to leap over the fence. The fence is a little over five feet. They left the garden alone.

  • Kenny Point

    Just as I suspected, my neighbor told me that he saw a groundhog running around in the back yesterday. Now if I can locate his burrow that will make traping him a lot easier. The only plants that may not recover besides the cabbages is the okra, they are not looking good at all, and I was really looking forward to harvesting fresh okra pods this summer.

    Opal, that’s a pretty big vegetable patch that you have there. I do have a short fence around the garden, but it wouldn’t be much more than a speed bump to a deer or a groundhog.

  • Groundhogs can run fairly fast I remember as a child running after one that was vacating my parent’s garden, lol. I kept alongside him, but I didn’t try to catch him their claws are very sharp.

    The groundhogs in my area are something else they will come back to the same spot they left and will finish the entire row… well that is what they used to do.

    These days I plant enough for myself and my wildlife friends. I place yummie plants outside the fence. 🙂

  • Kenny Point

    Claws… what about those teeth? I once chased a groundhog about thirty yards into a corner, he spun around, showed his teeth, and then I was the one doing the running and being chased! They may look pretty tame when they are peacefully grazing in the vegetable garden but don’t let that fool anyone, they have a very nasty and ferocious side that is often displayed when they are trapped or cornered.

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