at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Garden Trials and Treasures

chipmunk in a pot
I'm growing chipmunks now!!
Gardening is hard. Every year I am learning new things, but it also seems that each year presents new challenges.  My first year of gardening, the bunnies ate all of my peas.  So, we put up a fence, and I had not seen the bunnies back until this year.  The fence has kept them out of the garden -- or so I thought.  Somebody had been eating my green bean plants, among other things, earlier this summer.   At first, I blamed the deer (which may or may not have been munching in my garden -- I really am not sure).  As I learned last year, the deer can just prance right over my little fence and start feasting.  So, I covered my garden.  At first, I just covered some of the plants with sheer tulle fabric.  Then, my father-in-law set out this netting for me that covers almost my entire garden area.  This has worked great, and I have found no evidence of deer in my garden since.  However, something was still eating the green beans.

He's only cute when he's not in my garden!
I thought maybe it was the chipmunk -- who I know has tunnels under my garden, and who I suspect as both my pea-stealer and my sunflower-planter; but the plants seemed to high off the ground for him to be able to reach.  Then, one day, I caught my garden thief red handed!  It was a BABY bunny.  He was small enough that he could actually fit through the ~2" x 2" mesh in my fencing!  I had wondered if it could be him, but he didn't look that small.  Sure enough, though, as soon as I saw him in my garden, he also spotted me and bolted straight through the fence without a problem.  SO, we have now (successfully, I hope) fortified my garden.  I got a couple of rolls of chicken wire -- small enough that the bunny could NOT fit through, and had Tom run that around the outside of the regular garden fence.  So the garden is now double-fenced and covered with netting.  It makes working in there a little difficult, but it's worth the hassle because now I am getting tons of green beans!  And my tomatoes and other vegetables are safe.  I think.

vegetable garden, with fencing and netting

baby gourd growing in my garden
Baby gourd growing...although I don't think this one
is actually going to make it
I'm running into the familiar squash bug problem again this year.  I have several types of gourds and squash growing, I think -- from whatever I tossed into my garden after Halloween last fall.  I have seen only a few adult squash bugs, but I have found lots of eggs, which they like to lay on the underside of leaves.  I've been pretty vigilant about tearing off any leaves with eggs and hope that I'm keeping on top of it well enough to actually get a few pumpkins or gourds again this year!

first red skin potatoes of the season from my garden
My first treasure-hunting dig of the year!

Finally, I have run into a scare with my potato plants.  They started off growing really strong, and they were green and vibrant plants.  Then, just about the time I expected them to bolt up a bit more and start flowering, they started turning yellow.  I thought maybe it was some sort of fungus or something infecting my plants at first.  Then I realized that the plants were actually dying!  The other day I decided to do a little bit of digging to see if anything had grown from the dying potato plants and if the potatoes themselves were infected.  I found a tiny little nugget of a potato and figured there were probably just some little tiny potatoes in the rest of the space and that they wouldn't have had time to grow to full size.  I dug a little more and was about to give up, when I stumbled upon a real treasure...and then another!  I found two big, legitimate red skin potatoes that looked perfectly healthy!  So, now I'm wondering if there is anything wrong with the plants, or if they are just all done -- not needing to flower -- and if the rest of the potatoes have, in fact, grown to full size.  I'll dig some more once the plants are actually dead.  Hooray!  I love digging for buried treasure.

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!