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A garden tragedy

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A garden tragedy

Post  ftroopmom on 4/25/2011, 12:04 pm

Ok, maybe not a total loss, but we are worried. Over the last few days, the squirrels have become quite curious about the beds and though we've chased most of them off, they were successful last night or early this morning digging up our onions, carrots, and making off with a nice ripe berry.

I have been looking at building the screen cages to cover the beds, but I can't figure out how to also incorporate the trellises into the cage. Is that possible? Is there a short term trick to save what we have since I don't have time until this week to make these cages? Someone in my neighborhood recommended cayenne pepper. Will this work?

I need to save this garden as we put a little money into it and if it doesn't do well, I may not be able to convince the hubby to invest again next season...

Thank you all!
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ftroopmom

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Re: A garden tragedy

Post  Miss M on 4/25/2011, 12:35 pm

We just screened in our bed. We had built the framework for it into the bed:



(The bed is so deep because the land holds water. The bottom is filled with sand.)

We have trellis netting on the inside of both ends, as well as in the middle (we do have some shade as a result, but we won't for long). Our critter mesh is on the outside, with chicken wire on the top. I need to take a new picture.

I have the same issue you are facing -- vines that are only 4" away from the netting. I am hoping that with vigilance, I will be able to keep it under control. I already had a cucumber tendril wrap itself around the netting within hours of installing it, so it will definitely take a lot of watching.

I'm tired of losing the tomatoes to the birds, though, and I know the squirrels would have noticed soon. They rob the nearby pear tree faithfully every year.

I put chicken wire on the top because it will be permanent -- it will hold up plastic in the winter.

You can save money by using all mesh, and by using cheap materials to build your frame -- even pvc or something.

Miss M

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Re: A garden tragedy

Post  ftroopmom on 4/25/2011, 3:57 pm

Thank you so much! I really needed that visual. I checked your blog also, great pics there! What type of mesh do you use? Is it readily available? And most importantly, how expensive is it? Shocked
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ftroopmom

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Re: A garden tragedy

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/25/2011, 8:27 pm

ftroopmom, even if you don't have a great year your first year, the second year is really inexpensive, (unless you want to go bigger and better)

You still have a lot of growing season left Laughing so still time to get a great harvest.

Remember most of your expenses are building and filling your boxes the first year. Next year you will only need compost to help build up your volume and add nutrients when you harvest or clean out the bed at the end of the growing season, then seeds and maybe a few transplants. Because you have leftover seeds from this year, you may not even need new ones. Starting your own seedlings indoors will cut down on your transplant costs next year too.

I don't know what Miss M used to cover her garden. She used chicken mesh for the top. Deer Netting, which is what I use, is about $20-$25 for a 7 ft high by 100 ft long roll and would cover a really good sized area. The holes are about 1 inch square. Then your other expense would be posts or hoops to hold it up.

I'm sure someone else will let you know their thoughts on your tragedy.
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Update

Post  ftroopmom on 5/1/2011, 10:42 am

Still trying to figure out how to post things around here...

I used some deer netting and the pvc idea from Mel's new book. So far so good! Now to figure out why my squash leaves are all turning yellow. Even lost one plant.

Being honest, I didn't use MM because we didn't hear about SFG until after we purchased 10 sq yds of "garden mix" from a dirt/grass company. I don't know how to enrich the soil at this point. Should I add fertilizer? I think it is a case of overwatering, but I also think the mix could be improved.

Here is a picture of the squirrel proofing. I have actually purchased landscaping anchors to replace the rocks and wood around the bottom, so it looks a bit nicer and the squirrels have not been able to get into it...yet... LOL

You might be able to see some of the yellowing of the leaves on the plants if you enlarge the picture.

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ftroopmom

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Re: A garden tragedy

Post  quiltbea on 5/1/2011, 11:12 am

Your garden bed is looking good.

Anytime you plant a square, whether for one seedling or 16 seeds, its a good idea to add one or two scoopsful or trowelsful of composted manure or compost to the square.

This happens to be my asparagus bed but it works the same for each square. Add compost to the hole and stir it in with what's in there, then refill with what you've removed.

I scoop out some of the soil into a kids beach bucket, add the compost to the bottom of the hole and stir it in with what's loose in the bottom of the hole, then put the removed soil back in the hole and stir a bit more with my trowel, then smooth the square with my palms.
Next I dig out the hole to drop in the seedling or I just add the seeds to the square and cover them as needed. Water in.
The compost is there to improve the soil and feed your crop.

If your seedlings are already planted, you can still improve your soil by using a good liquid fertilizer. There are some good organic ones out there. Read the label and follow instructions. You only need about a tablespoon per gallon but read the label to be accurate. You don't want to burn your plants. There is also liquid seaweed or kelp which is a good source.
Or you can water with compost tea which is 1 cup of aged compost added to 4 cups of water, stirred well, and a cupful of the resulting liquid poured around each of your plants. You can strain it or not, your choice.

For info on compost teas, use the search feature here and learn more.

If you can do a soil test and can find out specifically what is missing in your soil, you can add what's missing as amendments.

Good luck.
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