July 18, 2011


This year's garden improvements have been focussed on preventing competition. We chose the some of the larger competitors - moles/voles, birds and deer. That is about 0.5% of the total competition for the garden harvests. But we figure slow and steady will win the race for food. Right?

I already posted about our creative use of leftover PVC to create the strawberry cover. Within about 2 hours a robin was caught inside the net. I had to open one end and then spook it to the opening. Thankfully no other birds have been able to penetrate the net. As a result we have harvested about 2/3 of the crop. Slugs, ants and mold have taken the remaining 1/3. I'm open to suggestions on those three - non-chemical suggestions. (Note - our slugs seem to be too smart for the beer trick.)

We have an interim measure in place for the moles/voles. I found these nifty little ground inserts that emit a noise that repels, in theory the rodents. Every 15 seconds or so a loud buzzing sound is produced. The box claims the sound travels up to 90 feet. I put one at every corner of the garden in an attempt to create a solid barrier. So far only a few moles holes have turned up in the garden. Maybe we have some really speedy moles that pass the barrier during the 14 seconds of silence and then get trapped inside? It's hard to tell about the voles since they don't great mounds. Once the potatoes, carrots and beets start forming, it will be obvious. Last year voles ate all the golden beets.

The second step on the moles/voles will be to create a 2-foot-deep trench around the garden and add chicken wire underground. Let's see 'em get through that! But it will have to wait until next summer after we add the last garden extension (which will be occupied by another row of strawberries).

The last defensive maneuver of this season was to build and arbor of sorts over the blueberries and raspberries. Jeremy and my dad built 6, 10-foot wooden T's. They dug down 3 feet, placed the T's in and pounded dirt down around. Then my mom and I moved the netting off the strawberries (they only have a few berries left to ripen) and onto the T's. Two things I learned during this process. One, netting really messes with your depth of field. Two, even humans can get stuck in netting. Twice I got good and caught up. My mom had to help extract me. Now I know how that robin felt.

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