Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Damn Deer

Like everyone else I can appreciate the beauty of these creTures ... As long as they are not EATING my garden!

We went on vacation for 10days (figuring the weeds could play for a bit) but my hubby had to come back in town for a dr appt ... He came back to the vacation spot with the great news that the corn had grown to about 4 inches tall! Yeah, even though it's just 6 rows it was exciting to know the con was growing so well after so many years of poor yields.

We got home on Sunday to find that all but ONE row was snipped off at the base!

No this wasn't deer - but I'll get there in a bit .... Patience

Around the place where each ear had sat there was a perfect divot .... so we figure it was either pheasants or wild turkey (daughter saw one of this sitting on our steps while we were out of town ... we had the dog) ... deer would have (a)atenolol the tops not just leave them by the wayside and (b)they would have left clear hoof prints down the row like they did when they munched the tops off my peas and beans last year ....

Checked m pumpkin and squash ... Oh what lovely flowers I had ... They were growing so well ... Yes thTs a were ... But wait.

That Tuesday after vacation just south of us was put under a tornado warning and radar showed that the storm they were concerned about would be coming straight our way - now last time I planted out my starters in the main garden we got over 1 inch deep in hail the next week and killd them all (yes I cried) ....

So the kids and I were out in the pole barn this time trying to brain storm some storm shelter for the plants ... My oldest daughter was all for letting nature do what it will ... Youngest son as for just covering them with a tarp, straight down to smother and smuch them ...

We found ne tarp and two saw horses .... And were able to cover 5 out of 20 plants .... I chose the pumpkin to save - after all the fruit can be sold come fall and we can recover some of the seed cost.

The twister/cyclonic clouds passed just to our west shifting it's path at the last few minutes .... thank you fairies for moving that and for keeping that funnel up for us ... not even any hail bt the temps did drop and the air did thin out. (the saw horses fell over but the plants beneath were still good)

So yezterday hubby decided that instead of having just one row of corn to feed the family, he was going to use his fixed tractor (another story) to plant half the larger field keeping the other half in clover ... green manure ... and then while he was at it, he might as well do the part that was eaten up too.

Kids and I went to look at my plants - I figured I should have had some closed flowers starting to swell behind ... but I certainly wasn't expecting to find what I did ...


They left evidence behind ...

Actually the first thing I noticed was the lack of bright color ... No biggie, I was expecting them to be starting squash/pumpkin remember? ... then I saw the prints and got on my knees to figure out way some of them looked so beaten up ... And there it was ...

Nipped off tops! Flowers laying on the mulch! Slems split from the deer putting their foot/hoof on them to pull off the tops! DANG!

Now I have no issues with animals acting like animals ... and I understand that this is just what deer do ... but there is a wildlife center over here which REFUSES to put fencing around their land to keep their critters in ... they even refuse to spray the area to control deer ticks/Lyme disease ... in fact they won't even allow the DNR to treat for mosquitoes which get so many people sick in our area ...

I buried the cracked stems in the soil - with the theory/hope they will put out roots the way tomato plants will when you pull off the stems and bury the stem to cover (try it, you will get a better plant) ... I don't know if I will be getting much in the way of squash ... since they already had buds they took the majority of the punishment ... but the pumpkin APPEARED untouched ...

Decided to use the 10yards of mosquito netting I had to surround the garden like deer fencing ... Oh how nice that would have been had I enough ... I had enough to cover just on side and two ends leaving the other side open like a deer-salad-bar ... UUUUUUGGGHHHHH

But I opened up the netting and stretched it across the top and even though the sides where open it was better than it was before ... The netting is old - well over 5 years so it was brittle and soon the fencing stakes managed to rip through but that was actually an advantage because the first plan was to run a string around the stakes to give the netting some support so now the netting is resting on the string and hanging down the sides like a tablecloth ... with a few rocks and some packed dirt I was able to get the sides to stretch towards the ground and give it a more enclosed feel.

It's not pretty but it's in code/ordinance and -this morning at least - should do the trick

I just hope the bees will be able to find their way in for pollinizing - they should there's more an enough space.

I am concerned that a deer might find itself tangled if it tries to put it's head under but my son thinks the deer will probably break through it and my hubby thinks that the first good wind will blow it away! We will see ...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Planting the very old fashioned way

Well we ... We - like I did anything about it ... Hubby sprayed the fields last week with the lighter tractor while the fields were still a tad too wet for the big tractor to ge into ... E weeds had started to take over the plowed sections of the fields

But they make things so weak these days that it just didn't do much good ... It as supposed to start to whither after 24 hrs but even a week later ey were still thriving ... Stupid weeds.

So hubby decided that a couple of diskings would help things out ... And then he could plant the corn.

Too bad the tractor decided that it was done before it really began.

As soon as the risked got into the soil the water pump gave way ... And of course since the engine got wet, it stopped dead. And he ran to get something underneath to catch any of the moisture coming out - quick mover that he is, we were able to dig around the wet soil afterwards and get it (plus a bit more for safety) out of the field completely ... We only lost about a wheel barrels worth of dirt, not bad.

But that left us with a huge problem ... A whole lot of corn seed that needed planting and then there were the plants from the green house ... And the soil was too hard to do either easily.

Oh what to do ... We were really counting on those plantings to at least fill the freezers for winter ... If we can do that we'll be happy. Any extra and we'll be estatic but really we will be happy to just get enough for the table.

After an hour of self pity ... Hubby and I - okay mostly me because he was in a defeatist mood - began brainstorming ... And came upon an idea.

Granted not a brilliant idea, but one that would at least work for a little bit.

We have a hand tiller .... Oh the look on his face! I told him to do just a spot large enough for the greenhouse plants ... He was dreading it but I told him that if he just went back and forth instead of the length then he could make a plot about as big as we had at our old house in the city ... He felt that would be easier to handle and after all the idea was to get the green house plants in.

So I got the sons to go down to help him (I thought) so the girls and I could go grocery shopping and get some stuff for the younger one for a school project.

(you'll have to read mympost about the trip on my other blog)

I returned to find this:
From Ginger's Farm Photos
Hubby was tilling and the youngest was pulling out the ricks and putting them on the side of the field for use later.

From Ginger's Farm Photos
Hubby and son each took a rake to smooth out the dirt and then make a decent furrow ...
From Ginger's Farm Photos
But the hand planter was the best tool for the job, but it doesn't do so well in soft soil such as works best for the corn - so just a little extra help was needed ... No he wasn't pulling hard, it was more like guiding to keep the planter in the furrow.

Then when they were done, they used the rakes to cover the seed and tap it gently. Iv got special additive that holds water for hot days like today or for those days when we get too little rain (like July) ... But I forgot to let him know.

He did put down two packages of my plastic mulch though - surprise, surprise - and planted the pumpkin and winter squash!

But h he was so sore afterwards ... I felt so bad for him.

The young son and I went down to water the plants this afternoon - they looked so sad, that I wish I had watered them sooner. Hubby gave them a good drink before planting but the heat was so much today.

The GH got over 120•F today ... That is as high as the thermometer goes ... I wound up having to water those plants twice today to keep them from wilting.

Even my salad greens are starting to look stressed ... I will have to trim the whole lot tomorrow while the sun is low and treat them for going up to the cabin for the weekend where they will be consumed most ravenously.

Oldest daughter will be in town so she can make sure the rest f the plants get plenty of water and the tarps get put up for ventilation/ cross breeze.