Garden Journal - May 17, 2016

Mystery Solved....Squirrels

Well, it seems the general consensus is that squirrels are to blame for digging holes in my soil and tossing my seedlings around like a bad juggling act. They really are annoying. I sprinkle cayenne pepper in the garden around the plants now to try to keep them away. (They don't like their plants spicy hot.) But I'll need to keep doing that....Fencing a bunch of containers isn't much of an option either. One person told me she sets up motion-sensor sprinklers to scare them away and it works. If I had a water source back there, that would be an option, but it's not. I'm hoping that once everything is trellised or surrounded by supports and the plants get bigger, they'll move on. (Until there's more for them to eat, that is.) Stupid squirrels.

This week, I added many of my supports for tomatoes, eggplant and have some trellises on order for some of the other things in the beds. Best to get those in as soon as possible. The roots are growing under the soil and putting in supports later risks damaging those roots. 

Potatoes - I'd tell you what kind they are, but I neglected to label them. Learn from my mistakes....

Potatoes - I'd tell you what kind they are, but I neglected to label them. Learn from my mistakes....

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Yellow Squash

Yellow Squash

What's Popping Up

Aside from what the squirrels have ruined, things are coming along. Here's what's sprouting from what I planted by direct sowing outdoors:

  • Sunflowers & Marigolds
  • Potatoes are getting green sprouts
  • Peas 
  • Parsnips & Carrots
  • Swiss Chard

Garden Repair

A bit of repair work was needed on the corners of the boxes. With all the rain we had in the past few weeks, the corners started to separate and I haven't been able to get out there to fix them until now. I used the corner brackets that I talked about in an earlier post. And....I treated myself to a power screwdriver!! Power tools... Woo Hoo! I didn't get the top of the line one, but it did the trick and made it much easier to get the job done.....with a lot less cursing out in the garden, which is always a plus.

Secure corners with corner brackets

Secure corners with corner brackets

The Gift of Gardening, Family and Garden Decor

I was also fortunate to have some new additions to the garden. These aren't things that grew from the ground, but from the heart and family. As my Mom is getting ready to move from the home she and my Dad retired to in upstate NY, I took some of the garden "decor" that was my Dad's and was still out there in their yard. I acquired a sundial, a frog and a rabbit (see below). (Maybe they'll scare the squirrels?) They're pretty "whimsical." When Dad was alive, he was an avid gardener and built and nurtured an amazing backyard garden. He spent hours and hours out there. He grew flowers and flowering trees/shrubs, not veggies, but his example influenced me greatly. I don't know if I even realized it at the time - I admired what he did, but didn't see myself in it. But, I saw the enjoyment he got from gardening and now it's something that I'm lucky enough to experience. I'm truly grateful for that influence.

For those of you with kids, if you need a reason to take some time out to garden, having a positive influence on your kids and how they view nature and their place in it should be a good motivator. 
Frog playing a string instrument - was my Dad's

Frog playing a string instrument - was my Dad's

Another garden ornament from my Dad's garden - guarding my blueberries and strawberries

Another garden ornament from my Dad's garden - guarding my blueberries and strawberries

 

 

I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).

I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)

This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.

In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself. 

With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix  DMC-ZS15 compact camera.) 

I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.    

Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!

- Catherine