Friday, May 28, 2010

Rain, please!

We have had a lengthy period of insufficient rain and some record breaking heat. And this is only May, albeit late May.

But, the garden is doing fairly well. There is far less snail and slug damage than last year. We have only seen a woodchuck once - but I have seen a couple of broccoli eaten totally off in the last two days so it probably has returned. As soon as we saw the groundhog we had the trapper set out two traps, but all we caught was a skunk and two raccoons (or the same raccoon on consecutive nights). I released them, making sure I had a large plastic sheet between me and the skunk (which was very timid and calm) and that I had gloves on when releasing the raccoon(s) (which was/were aggressive). Now the traps have been empty for over a week and therefore not attracting anything. We had a deer in the yard on at least two occasions - one evidenced by hoof prints and the other by an actual sighting.

As to my efforts at deer control, we have a four to five foot fence around the back yard but this clearly does not keep deer out. The question has been where the deer (I have never seen evidence of more than one) comes in. Our neighbor has seen the deer go into their yard and jump the fence into our yard. Several weeks ago I added a three foot post to each fence post on that side and then stapled deer fencing to those posts to make a seven foot barrier. That has remained intact. When the deer was chased out of the yard it went over the gate in the back corner of the property. I have now put up two pieces of metal 3 foot fencing there. One piece was pushed over several days ago, perhaps meaning that the deer tried to enter there (or maybe meaning that it just fell since I didn't actually attach that piece to the fence. I now have.) Without rain the ground is so dry that it would be difficult to see hoof prints.

The photo is of part of this year's spinach crop. I have never been particularly successful with spinach but this year both beds did very well. This bed is a variety called Space which I believe I bought as being particularly good for growing through the winter. We have so much spinach that I have been cutting it and freezing it. I have always pulled out spinach plants before as my method of harvesting them - and creating room for warm weather plants - but I want to see how well it will regrow.

June is just a few days away and we will be taking a short trip to a conference so I am working on planting all the seedlings that I can. It would be a lot easier if the forecasts for rain were accurate for where we live. I spend a lot of time hauling water to the little seedlings. I also planted some ground cherries, tomatoes and potatoes in containers and they need watering a couple of times a day. Hopefully it rains while we are gone. We also have to figure out what to do with the toad tadpoles in the aquarium in the kitchen, but that is another topic.

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