we have a lot to say
One of the great bonuses I discovered in owning our house was the fact that I like to garden. Being from a small town in South Western Ontario, I grew up around farms, and garden centres and that was the last thing I wanted to do. Going to college, I was determined to put all that “country” crap behind me, and become a bona fide city girl. I wanted lots of pavement, apartments high in the sky, dinners out, and closets full of fab clothes.
That sufficed for quite a few years, until I really started getting interested in food, and where it came from. When Mr. J and I moved in together, we created a small garden in our apartment’s backyard, that consisted of tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeños, and eggplant. We got maybe 5 jalapeños and a couple of teeny tiny tomatoes that weren’t even worthy of fried green status. What we didn’t realize is that we were fighting a losing battle against the omni-present squirrels and possums, and they were getting all our good stuff. The following summer we moved into our house and tried a garden again with the same results.
This past winter, after a healthy dose of Pinterest, I knew what I had to do if I wanted to win the war. And yes, it’s a war. The squirrels eat everything they can find, and they leave leftovers in places like on top of my mailbox (a pizza crust), in my Christmas door wreath (a hunk of bread), or on the hood of my car (some more bread). I want to borrow my father in law’s bb gun to take of the problem, but Mr. J tells me that I’m getting a little homicidal about it. Anyway, I knew I had to do something that would allow me to have my Martha-esque garden sans squirrel carcasses.
Thanks to Pinterest and the hours upon hours I spent there, I found two solutions:
1. Raised beds apparently deter squirrels. Why, I have no idea, but if the contributors at BHG tell me this, I’m going with it.
2. Vinegar mixed with jalapeños sprayed onto the edges of raised beds (or your container of choice) and even on the soil in said container will have the squirrels taking off for the hills (or at least out of my backyard).
So that’s what I did. Easter weekend my parents and in-laws joined forces with Mr. J and I, and we built us 3 raised beds in the backyard.
After we were done, we had to figure out how much dirt we needed to fill the bad boys. After doing all kinds of algebra, trigonometry and calculus, we came up with this:
Yep, that’s right. A big old pile of dirt. 4 yards to be exact. And guess who the privilege of hauling it back to the garden? That’s right, me. I shovelled and transported approximately 28 wheelbarrows full of dirt. And then couldn’t move for 3 days without searing pain in my back. But hey, to beat the squirrels it’s worth every minute of agony.
After I planned out what we were going to plant in our raised beds, and where, I made the decision to buy small plants already started from Home Depot. I’ve tried to grow from seed, and that is not my forte. One warm weekend in late April, Mr. J and I hightailed it out to our local HD and bought $87 worth of vegetables and herbs, came home and got to planting.
I apologize for the unfortunate shadow in the pictures. 🙂 That and the fact that the rest of my yard looks like crap. It’s not that bad, honestly.
So far, the combo of raised beds and the jalapeño flavoured death spray seem to be working. As of May long weekend, this is how the garden is doing (which was the original point of this post, but I seem to have wandered off).
I also have a great little herb / lettuce collection going. I actually had to split my cilantro plant because it was growing too fast. Dammit, I hate when stuff like that happens. 🙂 I am firmly in the loving cilantro fan club. I just don’t understand those people that say cilantro tastes like soap. Really, soap? Are you taking bites of soap to compare the cilantro to? I think not.
Another trick I figured out is that squirrels don’t like marigolds either. I had originally planted them to keep bugs and other small insects away (along with garlic) and was dead-heading them into the other areas of the gardens. Lo and behold, I don’t find any small paw-prints in the gardens after I’ve done that. It’s either that, or Walter doesn’t like marigolds either, because you know, he likes to check out the raised beds too.
Point of this whole post? I like gardening! A lot! There’s a quiet satisfaction to taking a wee plant that looks like it’s on death’s door, and nurturing it into a healthy, food producing one. I say nurturing like I’m doing all the work. I should really replace the word nurture with MiracleGro. Cause that’s really the secret. I’m MiracleGro-ing the sh*t out of my plants. And if that’s my gardening ability right now, so be it. It makes me happy, (hopefully) feeds us, and makes my backyard look nice.
Welcome back country girl, welcome back!