Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Love My 2011 Summer Garden


By Norris McDonald

This is my best garden yet.  I have a little of everything in there, including: tomatoes, peppers, corn, broccoli, zucchini, squash, watermelon, canteloupe, arugula, cucumbers, beans, and Romaine lettuce.  All vegetables came from seeds.  The compost pile was very useful in providing support and nutrition for the plants.  We seem to be in a semi-draught condition and so I bought a great sprinkler with variable sprays at Home Depot.  I have seven rows with two or three different items planted per row.

The ants have been a problem for the sunflower plants.  But the squirrels have been worse.  The dug up seeds from about four plantings of sunflowers.  Sunflowers are awesome plants when they bloom and the squirrels bit off the crowns before they could fully mature last year.  I have some sunflowers growing but they had to be protected with chicken wire on all sides and on top of the cage.  I put too much fertilzer in the bases of three of the sunflower stands and it burned up the first round.  It has been a tough year for sunflowers but I have some good growths going and just planted more today.

The groundhogs have been a big problem this year.  They devastated my broccoli crop.  They just love broccoli.  I have a chicken wire fence up inside of the natural wood deer fence, but the groundhogs still sneak in.  We have been at war and I've stung them with the BB gun a few times.  They keep coming back.  It is a male and a female.  I know where their home hole is in the woods nearby.  But I don't bother them.  Sometimes when a broccoli spear is eaten, it makes me want to hurt them.  But I don't.

The squirrels are eating my corn.  They bite the stalk too to bring the higher corn down.  I have a lot of corn so it is not bothering me too much.  I know that squirrels will eat tomatoes too if they get hungry enough.  The squirrels have destroyed about five corn plants.

Well even with the ants, squirrels, groundhogs and semi-draught, this garden has been a great experience.  I have gotten great exercise.  My wheelbarrow and hoe have been great allies.  The pitchfork too. 

The tomatoes are starting to come in and the corn is maturing.  July and August will be great months for eating corn and tomatoes.  Good tomato sandwiches with mayo, homemade bread, and a pinch of salt and lots of pepper.

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