April 18, 2017


It took some careful planning, cooperating weather, and special tending by my sister-in-law while we were vacationing in Florida, to allow me to plant the garden over the last two days. It makes me smile to be able to do this in mid-April as I planted the garden over Memorial Day when I lived in Oregon ( aka the land of the green tomato).

So far, things look good. I took some extra precaution with the bean seeds (double hardware cages) as they seem to be prime sustenance for the wildlife.

As for keeping out rodentia ...., we will see. When the nights were still too cool outside for my tender seedlings (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), we brought the flats into the garage where I thought they would be safe. One flat was stored on the hood of our 4x4 pickup, the other on the freezer. Then a mouse got into the eggplant and nipped the growing tip and ate several dill seedlings. If a mouse can get on top of a truck and a freezer, I doubt there is any place that is safe from gnawing teeth, including my lovely, well-protected, metal-and-hardware-cloth-fortified, garden.

The mouse, meanwhile, has been life-trapped and relocated far, far away.

March 27, 2017

The new garden fence

At the end of last year a part of the garden fence blew down in a wind storm, taking the irrigation supply with it. This put an end to any thought of a winter garden, and made putting up a new fence a priority in the new year. It really was time to replace the old fence as some posts were loose in the ground, the lattice was coming apart here and there, and a javelina had tried to push his way through.

Having lived here for 13 years now (gasp!), we have dealt with a number of challenges in keeping our veg safe from animals: from mice to javelina and everything in between. We have built a couple of fences to deal with the problem but our rodent protection remained inadequate.

Our neighbors have the same challenges of course, and after some persistent javelina incursions, they added metal to their garden fences. Not ones to have to reinvent the wheel, we decided to follow suit and in addition buried a foot of 1/4" hardware cloth on the bottom of the metal to discourage animals from digging under it. The metal is attached to 5' field fence which will help keep the javelina at bay.

In this scheme the garden is not safe from deer or birds; deer seem to have enough to eat in the National Forest next door and have not been a problem. We would have to build an overhead structure to keep the birds (mainly quail) out, but we will discourage them with crop protection, which we have in various configurations.

Will this be the Final Garden Fence, and the Final Big Project? Time, and the animals, will tell. Regardless, this is the best looking garden I have ever had, and I am looking forward to planting the seedlings which are happily growing in the cold frame.

March 20, 2017

The apricot tree

We have been busy this Spring, replacing the garden fence part of which blew down at the end of last year, but I will do another blog when it is all done. Today I want to highlight the apricot tree.

The fruit trees have all bloomed and are leafing out, the Italian plum excepted. As every year, the peach trees were stunning being covered with bright pink blooms that can be seen from far away. My favorite tree is the apricot however. It has white flowers and is very fragrant, but unfortunately the blooms are short lived.

This year the tree was covered in white and the bees tried to carry it away: it was abuzz for days. The bees did their job very well as the tree started to flower on March 6 and this is the tree today, just 14 days later.

I will have some serious fruit culling to do if Mom does not throw a freeze at us. After unusually high temperatures this past week (80's F), the weather is forecast to be moderating to 70's next week. A freeze seems unlikely, but one never knows.