Garden Update…Pests and self-rooting

We have had a few mishaps with our new garden, but it is starting to come along nicely now.  Up until yesterday, our vegetable garden was growing really great too!  (See challenge #2 below to explain what happened yesterday).

Our first challenge – squirrels ate the carnations down to almost nothing.  The fix was to put marigold plants in and around the carnations to fend off the squirrels.  We also put some of the cats hair weaved around the stems of the carnations, with chilli powder sprinkled around too.  However, with the major rain storms we have been having the last few days, the powder and hair have now disappeared.

We started to research online for other ways to prevent the garden pests from eating everything and we found a cool idea, but unfortunately we waited too long to get the materials to avoid our second challenge – GROUNDHOGS WITH BABIES! (They are now living under the neighbour’s porch).   In 9 years we have never had groundhogs in this neighbourhood, and now we have a whole family.  We have also seen a very large opossum roaming the area too.

Green Beans

Green Beans chewed by Groundhogs.

 As of yesterday morning, in the vegetable garden, we had a full hedge of green beans growing very nicely towards the trellis; a very full leafed tomato plant and two pepper plants; and some really nice pea plants sprouting up.  Now there are sparsely leafed branches on the tomato plant; chew marks on the pepper plants; all the pea plants are chewed down to the ground, and the green bean plants look like they are just vines now.  One of the pumpkin leaves were chewed off, but we don’t think the groundhog enjoyed it too much (thankfully).

As for the front garden, the marigolds were looking amazing yesterday morning, and now they look like stems with fluffy leaves stuck on the sides. (image below)  All of the full fern-like leaves are gone.  The plants were almost 8″ in diameter, and now they are 3-4″.

2013-06-04 14.45.40

SO – off to get all the supplies required to make our pest control idea.   BBQ Skewers, small condiment cups with lids, mothballs and cayenne pepper.  As we don’t want to kill any animals, the lids to the cups are very important.  Lids also keep the pepper from disappearing when it rains.We used a hole punch to put holes around the sides of the small cups, then using a hot glue gun, stuck the skewers onto the bottom of the cups.   We stuck them in the ground behind, or within, the plants.  Put four(4) mothballs in the cups, and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.  Then secure the lids onto the cups.

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The smell from these little contraptions are supposed to deter the animals away.  Day one has passed and the plants look the same.  Only time will tell now.

2013-06-04 14.46.23

The other problem we have had, and the only explanation I can come up with, is that some critter keeps pushing on our bleeding hearts and snapping them.   In the picture on the left, you will see two plants on stakes.    The one on the left was the first section broken from the plant.   Experimenting, we put the stem into a glass of water for 2-3 days, then stuck it back into the ground.   That was almost 2 weeks ago, and the stem has sprouted a lot of new growth, so it is self-rooting!

Today, we had to do the same with the section in the right side of the picture.   The remaining part of the plant was lying on the ground 2 days ago.   So once again, we set it up in a glass of water and let it soak for 2 days.   We secured two BBQ skewers to the sides of the plant and stuck it back into the ground today.   We will watch for the next few days to see if it sprouts, or dies. Hopefully not the latter.

2013-06-04 14.45.53We are very happy with the crop shown in this picture (right).   As our front yard is the only full-sun location on our property, we have planted Peaches and Cream corn here.   Dear hubby is still not too impressed, but the girls and I are really excited to watch it grow.    We are hoping we will have two purposes for this crop – corn to eat in the fall, and corn stalks for halloween decorations!

Today we spent our day doing Botany for school.   The grass and weeds had grown just as much as our front garden plants, so to go along with our Roots study, we started loosening all the soil in the walkway and pulling up everything by the roots.  Everything that was NOT intentionally planted there.  What a great lesson in patience, focus and concentration.  I have never seen dd8 sit for that long, doing something she didn’t really enjoy.  Now that it is all cleaned up, below is the current updated picture of the front garden.   (The Before picture is below too!)

Garden as of June 4, 2013

Garden as of June 4, 2013

Starting from top left – patch of mixed flowers for hummingbirds, bleeding hearts (self-rooting), in front of the bleeding hearts are my mother day flowers, then the Lilac tree in the upper right corner.  Our Lilac flowers were a light purple when they bloomed.   In front of the Lilac tree, I believe, are the asters.

Coming down the right side – 3 plants along the boardwalk are Blanket Flower Gaillarde, the two smaller plants in front of them are white Bellflowers.  The larger bunch of leaves with a small row behind – not sure what they are – just planted some butterfly attracting flowers.   Below them is the Raspberry – still just a stick, but does have some leaves sprouting.

The bottom of the garden from bottom right – a neighbour was splitting her garden, and brought us some Blackeyed Susans.  In front of the Susans, between the Raspberry and the corn, we were going to put a bench here, but ended up planting some old seed packets of Daisies, Buttons, Petunias and Zinnias.   To the left of the first garden stone (in front of the corn),  we have our Carnations alternating with Marigolds,  Lilies on either side of another Blackeyed Susan, and in the corner – Blueberries.

Before picture:

Day 1 - New Front Garden

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