Into each life a little rain must fall, or, AAAARRRRGH!!

No, we haven’t suddenly jumped the gardening ship and become pirates; though that doesn’t seem like a bad option right about now. The title refers to this past week, which has been a tough one for a variety of reasons. What is to blame for most of our recent garden headaches? If you guessed “the squirrels” you get a gold star! If you guessed “the weather” you get a silver star, cause that’s to blame as well.

Taking the lesser of the bad news first…we lost the zucchini plants.

Sadness. Though there’s a melon plant to the left there that’s looking to take over the vacancy.

Frankly, their death is a little bit of a mystery. Earlier this week, they were doing really well. The leaves were green (with just a few moldy spots) and there were lots of blooms. Then mid-week we had a huge storm that dumped buckets of rain all over our region. (The backyard was a veritable pool, again!) The day after the storm, all the plants looked okay though very waterlogged. And a day after that, the zucchini were gone. Not a flower or vegetable in site.

But as awful as their loss was, it was nothing compared to the greater of the bad news: corn and baby watermelons. G-O-N-E-!

See that little stumpy vine there...?
See that little stumpy vine there…?

Yep, that once held a new, little watermelon. But now it’s just a sad, sad stump of a vine. {SIGH} We had three watermelon growing, and all we’ve got today is stumps. Now, we aren’t 100% sure that the squirrels are to blame, but after finding the critters again roaming the garden despite the nasty “squirrel tea,” the assumption made sense.

The same went for the corn. Sorry, there’s no picture because there’s nothing left to take a picture of! Imagine a garden bed without any corn, and that’s what we have now. The few stalks we had were chewed nearly to the ground. ALL of them. And forget about what was in the front – nothing but stalk stumps there too. {SNIFF SNIFF SOB}

So…we are now at the point of taking drastic measures. Yes, this is what the critters have driven us to!! We ordered some polypropylene netting, large garden staples, and some commercial squirrel (and rabbit) repellent. Honestly, we know it might be too late for what’s left, but we’re going to cover whatever we can – watermelons, peppers, tomatoes – whatever is exposed to their grubby little paws. Sure, they could certainly have a cucumber or two – we’re swimming in those — but nooooo….!

But we’re moving on from the setbacks and are keeping a close watch as the tomatoes start to fruit in earnest.

We're going to have a plethora of cherry tomatoes!
Go cherry tomatoes! GO!
Roma, heirlooms, and San Marzano all growing together.

So while it’s upsetting that we’ll probably have to settle for corn and watermelons from the grocery store this summer, there’s still plenty of good going on in the garden. Lots of our pepper plants are also coming into their own, so we’re very hopeful that at least a few will survive to produce something.

Ultimately, the lesson learned from this week is that nothing will stop us from gardening! Not the squirrels, not the rabbits, not the weather!



5 thoughts on “Into each life a little rain must fall, or, AAAARRRRGH!!

  1. The Belmont Rooster 08/05/2013 / 1:38 am

    WOW!!! Just like THAT!!! What do you mean the corn is gone? Stalks and all??? The Zucchini looks like… GONE??? Surely the squirrels can’t eat all those plants like that? I have had borers get in my Zucchini and they died within a few days, but your whole plants are gone??? Do you have a deer issue?

    • Garden State-ments 08/05/2013 / 3:25 pm

      We know, it’s crazy, right?? We haven’t seen a single deer in our neighborhood, but we also briefly wondered the same. Like, maybe they were somehow roaming the streets at night or something! The other possibility is racoons. Like we said, we aren’t totally sure that the squirrels should take all the blame, but at this point, it doesn’t matter. As soon as the netting and repellant arrive, it’s on!

      The zucchini, well…we think it just got drowned out in the rain. Also, it seems we might have been a little to aggressive in weeding – we would have done good to leave a little something in the soil to prevent the extreme buildup of rainwater. Lesson learned.

  2. gardeningkiwi 08/07/2013 / 3:41 pm

    Hi There. Oh my goodness – how frustrating. Maybe next season when preparing your garden you could build a structure that encloses the entire garden – even from above – like a fruit cage or something, so you can enjoy your garden and it’s produce without having to fight a constant battle.
    We are so blessed that the worst pest I have encountered is mice – and they can do quite a bit of damage to corn. We have rabbits and hares, but so far they haven’t bothered me. Then there is the curious Pukeho bird that just wants to know what you are growing so pulls it up to have a look.
    I admire your determination to garden in really trying circumstances.
    Cheers Sarah : o )

    • Garden State-ments 08/08/2013 / 11:06 am

      Thank you for the support! We’re only in our second year of gardening, so we know that we still have lots to learn and improve upon. 🙂 We saw some examples of raised bed enclosures that we might try next year. Your solution of covering the whole garden is a great idea. We once considered a similar idea but just don’t yet have the means to follow through. We plan to expand the garden a little each year (because who the heck wants to cut grass??), so it’ll be interesting to see if the critter situation gets worse or better with time.

      It’s great to hear that you only have mice and a bird bothering you! We’ve seen a few mice and shrews, but they don’t seem to bother the garden much. The birds have had a field day with all the leftover, dying cornstalks, taking pieces here and there for their nests. Best something gets some use out of them!

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