Friday, August 7, 2009
To Save The Garden
I feel like The Little Red Hen. Only in my story no one asks for food, they just come and help themselves. So, I called in the garden cops to save my vegetables for the rightful owners, us. I employed six Australorp hens, a large cat, and two strands of electric fence. Wish us luck. The enemies out numbers us by the thousands.
Grasshoppers descended upon us by the droves to feast upon the leaves of everything but especially the potatoes plants and so we kept driving the chickens in that direction. Chickens don't herd so we had to wait for two weeks until they made their way over to the plants. Meanwhile, I stewed and photographed the infestation.
Now, its hard not to mistake the plot for a weed patch. The potatoes are safe in the ground. I hope, for what lurks below the surface is beyond my view.
Is there enough plant to support growth? I don't know.
The hen's job was tripled when the flea beetles showed up to devour the broccoli. Then these ghost gray colored beetles arrived to eradicate the spinach and part of the beets. When an eighth of the patch was gone they disappeared. That makes me nervous. When or where will they pop up next?
The six pullets can't keep up and I should bring more home but it probably won't get done. I'm afraid that an increase in pullets right now would mean that more than my peas will be trampled. The vegetables are so closely planted that the chickens have trouble navigating. During the heat of the day, they rest under the tomatoes and since the peas are nestled up close, they have been smashed. Next year, I will arrange my garden with them in mind. The grasshoppers are forcasted to return.
A few rabbits have snuck in and who can blame them as the carrots and lettuce in comparison to the barren dry prairie has to be irresistible.
Reginald, our garden cat, takes care of them. A couple years ago, when we were in a terrible drought, he caught up to three a night.
As if that wasn't enough, the deer came in. The electric fence was up but the solar powered charger needed a new battery. I was gone on vacation with Dad and my sisters and Kirk hadn't gotten to that project before the deer sauntered through the garden tasting the wares.
Luckily they only had a chance to taste before Kirk ran them out.
Green beans is one of their favorite treats.
After the deers visit came the howling wind that busted off some of the tomato plants and toppled a number of their cages over. One landed on the electric fence and grounded it. In came the deer once more.
As night is fast approaching, I had better go pound a couple fence posts in and string a rope through the cages to upright them so the electric fence is free to do its job without interference tonight.