Friday, April 15, 2011

Planning the Gardens - 2011, Part 2

Even though spring seems to be really slow in warming up & drying out, I've tried to take advantage of short bursts of sunshine & tackle a few projects in the gardens.

Number 1 priority this year: deer proof what I can. Here's what I've come up with so far (& it ain't always pretty)...

I had noticed quite early this spring (or rather late this winter...) that the deer had found all my new plantings in my front flower bed. The potentilla shrubs (twigs) had been munched on, the emerging daylilies where cropped, as well as other minor munching.

My solution: bang in some rebar & string some fishing line as an invisible fence. You can see the remnants of my attempt to tie flagging tape to the line so that I wouldn't injure myself when attempting to do anything as well as to introduce the deer to "flappy" things.

Well, the flagging tape didn't stay in place & didn't do its "flappy" thing like I had hoped (this is the biodegradable stuff that will fall off by the end of the summer).

This seems to be working as I've seen the recovery of the munched on plants, but getting into the bed myself to apply some manure (the soil is constantly washing down & will do so under the plants are larger & will hold the soil in place), is quite tricky. A few more bags of manure, some random handfuls of flower seeds & this bed will take care of itself for the summer. The rebar & fishing line fence is practically invisible & I think I'll keep it in place for a few more years til things become large enough to handle a few moments of deer munching.

My berry patches - I've now got 3 'official' ones in the yard - are of greater concern to me this year. The deer found the berries & once the berries were gone just started to eat down the plants. This is one of my raspberry patches (with gooseberries randomly planted out front). Again, I banged in some rebar & hung reclaimed fishing net around it. I'm not draping the fish net over top - it's not a pretty sight to see a bird caught in the nets & I honestly don't mind sharing with birds - it's one of my visual reminders that it's time for me to get out there myself.

This is my 2nd raspberry patch with 2 blueberry bushes & a black currant shrub. It's a much larger area to surround & I'll have to keep an eye on it as I think the deer may have jumped inside already to check things out.

Last year the deer chomped on the blueberry bushes quite hard & ruined my careful pruning so that they are now all growing in towards the center of the bush instead of outwards. I will have to let the bushes recover for another year before trying to fix this. I just hope they aren't damaged so much that they won't produce any fruit...I've waited a long time for these blueberry bushes to start producing!!

The raised beds weren't treated too badly last year - not that they produced anything (due to poor soil nutrients I find out), but I had also regularly sprayed PlantSkydds on the frames (made from pigs blood - very gross) so that might have kept the deer away. This year I can't afford the cost of the PlantSkydd spray & I've boosted the soil by adding lots of compost & manure, so hopefully they will produce lots for my kitchen.

I put the plastic on the beds back in the beginning of March to 1) warm the soil up, 2) protect the soil from the torrential rain fall and 3) protect the soil from the deer who like to walk through the raised beds. My husband built the frames from recycled plastic piping & we cut some fishing net to fit over top. Once the weather warms up &/or dries up a bit, I will remove the plastic, but keep the fishing net. I just hope the birds don't get caught up in it...

This is inside veggie bed #2. Soil Temperature has been consistent at 9 or 10 degrees Celsius for the last 3 weeks or so. I did some early planting, but not much is making an appearance.

This is veggie bed #1 - you can't really see them, but in front of the sorrel (the big green plants) are some radish seedlings that have made an appearance. I hope these grow!! The sorrel needs to be harvested - now that it's recovered from the mowing the deer gave it back in February - makes the most wonderful pesto! I usually get about 3 harvests of sorrel per year.

Well, this is a great start to the growing season. I just wish it would warm up a bit as the seedlings in the house really need to be transplanted to larger living quarters & moved out into the greenhouse.

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