Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dealing with the Unexpected in Gardening

Gardening is one of those activities that come with a lot of risk. You plant your seeds and seedlings then with a bit of tending you hope for the best. Many a gardener has woke to find their carefully planted garden destroyed by hungry rabbits or deer. Gardens are often raided by marauding four legged and two legged thieves. As if that is bad enough the gardener is faced with adverse weather conditions that can easily wipe out an entire productive garden in the matter of seconds through hail, pelting rain or high winds. Sadly for many a vegetable garden really does make the difference as to whether they can afford to eat or not. They depend on their gardens not only for fresh vegetables but also to put up food for the winter. Barring a catastrophic event (eg. tornado, flooding and etc.) there are a few things you can do to buffer these types of problems.

  1. shelter your garden - Tuck your vegetable garden up into an area where it is sheltered from the wind by buildings, fences or vegetation windbreaks. If the only spot you can plant a traditional row garden is in the open create a windbreak with taller plants or temporary windbreak fencing. Raised beds and container gardening need a bit more protection.
  2. barriers - A barrier is a great deterrent for garden raiders. The type you choose will be very dependent on the pests you want to keep out. A low close knit fence protected also along the bottom with chicken wiring is effective for keeping rabbits, mice and rats out of your garden. If raccoons are raiding your garden run a line of low voltage electric fence around the perimeter of your garden about 9" from your low fence. Deer and humans present a special case. Most recommend at least a 6' high fence although a determined human or hungry deer can likely still get in.
  3. motion deterrents - One of the most effective pest deterrent I've used is a motion activated sprayer that makes a lot of noise while spraying a jet of water in the direction of the motion. For the best protection move the sprayer to different locations in your garden so pests do not become acclimatized.
  4. plant disease and/or drought resistant varieties - This will minimize any losses due to certain diseases and dry conditions.
  5. plant extra - This sounds like a given but always plant extras to guard against loss from disease or insect infestation. One easy way to get extras through the season is to take clipping and root them. Pinch tomato suckers and root them in water. Many herbs will root in water as well. Start extra plants from seeds. Keep a good variety of your extras indoors, in a screened in sun porch or balcony as a bit of insurance. If disaster strikes harden off your indoor plants then replant your garden. You will lose a little as far as yield but not a lot. Essentially what you are doing is creating a small container garden as a back-up.
  6. replace the plants - If your garden has been stripped an alternative is to replant using slight older plants from the nurseries. This approach will work well for many plants and is one trick to establish a garden if you get a late start planting. In late spring and early summer practically every store that sells plants greatly reduces the prices. This is a good time to pick up replace plants at bargain prices.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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