Thursday, July 24, 2008

Garden of green

The garden is planted with the best of intentions each year; seedlings artfully arranged by height and shade tolerance, careful rows of tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, peppers, a small colony of sweet basil, off to the side a rambling mass of cucumbers and squash.

This abundance is always reduced in the same manner. Lettuce and cabbage are the first to go (rabbits) followed by broccoli and kale if we braved them. The cucumbers and tomatoes are pruned early by something too young to know better (groundhogs) but grow vigorously to fruit until they ripen and are sampled yet again (squirrels). The peppers and basil are ignored (thank heavens for that), but the squash is ravaged (mystery bugs) and the foliage repeatedly eaten down so that there's nothing to shade what's growing below and the squash ends up sunpocked and dirt encrusted.

Every year we try again, build the fence a little higher and hope the critters might go for a neighbor's garden instead.

The tomatoes, if I get to them before the squirrels, are sublime. Just this week I did a little quality control work with the first couple ripe grape tomatoes. I love them and could make a meal of it, no washing or cooking required. We plant so many that it gets to be hard to keep up with what ripens each day. Always a nice thing to have too many sun-warmed tomatoes; nicer still is the watching and waiting for them to be red and ready for picking.

How's your garden growing? Who's eating what?

12 comments:

John said...

I planted some arugula and mustard greens back in April. Unfortunately an early hot spell made them flower and then the leaves got bitter. I might replace them with a late season lettuce or something. Peppers and tomatoes are not ready yet. My sister has had some luck with lettuce and chard.

Ruth said...

This is the first year I did not plant a few vegetables. So the hungry little garden residents have eaten my bulbs and half my lilies. Oh well!

Jayne said...

My MIL used to make the most yummy pickled green tomatoes. They were sweet and tart. Good luck with your garden!

KGMom said...

Squirrels eat tomatoes? Who knew.
I just planted a couple of tomato plants this year--for the first time in a long time. And now you tell me squirrels will eat them!?!

nina said...

Ours is doing terribly!
We made the mistake of thinking we could handle it all this summer...from weddings to gardens.
We were wrong.

Bevson said...

The red and yellow cherry tomatoes seem to be doing OK, but the big boys have blossom end rot. The ground hog that took up residence while I as away has eaten all the leaves off the green beans. I think it is the chipmunks eating my tomatoes but it could be squirrels.

Mary said...

No veggies this year - too dry. But I've had to deal with groundhogs, rabbits and insects, too. I know the feeling.

NCmountainwoman said...

We have a little roadside stop with all the fresh veggies and melons, berries, etc. They are grown locally by farmers who drop them off every morning in their pickup trucks. With a treat like that less than a mile away, I'll never plant another garden.

gardenpath said...

I have pretty much given on on vegetables, except for cucumbers and tomatoes. They do okay, for the most part. We have deer coming out of the woods at night to sample the flowers, though. The resident ground hog doesn't bother the garden as long as I don't grow green beans.

Dr. Know said...

With the best of intentions I planted tomatoes, both large and cherry, yellow and red bell and hot peppers, zuchini, cantalope and various pod beans. Between the chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels, only one tomato remains -- and the hornworms and rude neighbor's dogs have just about finished that off. Now they are eating the decorations -- the marigolds, phlox and yarrow. All that remains is one brutalized tomato and some bolting parsley which was planted for the black swallowtails.

Should have just paved it all with gravel and astroturf.

LauraHinNJ said...

John: Early hot spells - darn! I've never tried lettuce in the fall. Good luck.

Ruth: Oh! I'm sorry.

Jayne: There's still plenty of time for these to get red!

KGMom: They don't eat the whole tomato... just a bite to make it unappetizing for me!

Nina: Yeah... gardeners are optimists!

Maybe next year...

;-)

Bevson: Hi and welcome! We've no chipmunks here, so I suspect the squirrels.

Mary: Yeah... the critters keep us busy one way or another.

NCMountainWoman: I understand that, but there's nothing like wandering through the garden at the end of the day barefoot, popping grape tomatoes into your mouth right from the vine, you know?

:-)

Sandy: We tried beans, but something always gets them first here too.

Dr. Know: Eating the decorations even?

(laugh)

I hope that one brutalized tomato will be worth it.

dguzman said...

The solution on the fence is not only "higher" but "buried deeper," Laura. We dug a trench about 8" deep, buried the fence in it, then wedged big rocks (flat slabs of limestone and stuff found around the yard) in there too, to deter diggers. That's worked perfectly for two years now, keeping out bunns and groundhogs.

I'll have to do a post to update my veggies' status. I don't want to hog your comments. Let's just say that I got a late start and I'm only just now getting close.