Garden

At war with wildlife

I think I’ve become a crazy person. Seriously, certifiable. Last week I discovered that deer have been decimating my garden. No, I am not being melodramatic. They’ve hopped my 4-foot fence, stepped over my 2-foot garden fencing, pushed aside the wildlife netting and munched away to their hearts’ content. Buh-bye green beans, sorry squash, later tomatoes.

I even found hoof prints and many eaten plants to corroborate my story. Le sigh.

I’m cool with deer and wildlife. I try not to kill bugs outside because it’s their home, too. I even have an unspoken deal with the snakes that I find from time to time: Stay out of my house (which they always do — thank goodness), and I’ll simply relocate you so you aren’t in my way. I try not to tempt the deer with too many of their favorites, and I sure as hell thought Remmy would be a great deterrent, but this year the deer have my number. And my veggies.

So I am at war. And I think I’m winning. Muahahaha.

After finding my eaten garden and cursing up a storm, I promptly went inside to research how to keep deer away from my garden. There were lots of tips and tricks, so I got to work.

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  1. Irish Spring soap: Rumor has it deer aren’t crazy about Irish Spring soap. Apparently, nor is Brian. I’d bought a bulk pack of the green bars that remained almost untouched, so I drilled holes and attached the bars of soap to my garden fencing. It now smells very fresh and clean out there.
  2. Bells: I made this one up myself. I read a lot about how noises will scare deer away. I thought adding bells to my tomato plants might frighten a deer away if they heard a noise while they were eating. The jury is definitely still out on that one. I may have added an old wind chime, too.
  3. Extra fencing: The deer thankfully have not attempted to hop into my lush tomatoes, otherwise I’d still be weeping. But in an attempt to further deter their snacking, I added another set of fencing in front of my tomato garden. It leans a little, so they can’t get as close. Can they still hop it? Oh heck yes. Have they, oh heck no.
  4. Tightened netting (not pictured): The deer plainly don’t care about the wildlife netting, but I tightened it nonetheless. So far, no netting breaches have occurred. On the other hand, I can barely get through the damn netting haha. It makes picking my produce quite difficult.
  5. Motion-activated sprinkler: The gem in my deer fighting arsenal, my motion-activated sprinkler stands guard just waiting for an unsuspecting deer to cross its path. Then BAM! SPRINKLER! It’s hilarious. I frequently get soaked. So does Remmy. In theory, so do the deer. It might be useless, who knows. But I sure get a lot of joy out of it.

You’ll also see in the above photo and old, sheer curtain. I was so pissed last week about the deer that the first couple of nights that I actually covered my tomatoes at night. Then it stormed in the middle of the night and I ran outside in basically my skivvies (does anyone say skivvies?) to make sure the wind wasn’t wrapping the curtain around the plants and killing them. Since then, I’ve forced myself to be slightly less neurotic (ahem, crazy).

All of my deer proofing seems to be doing the trick. Who knows if it is the soap or the sprinkler, but one way or another, the deer have stopped eating my garden. I’m happy to share a jar or two of pasta sauce with them as a thank you. Silly deer, Jess’ garden is for people.

Everything should be turning green/growing like crazy in the next few weeks. I harvested a zucchini, crookneck squash and cucumber already.

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And the first of my tomatoes are turning red! I may or may not have squealed with delight when I saw this. And Brian may or may not have walked out of the house at that exact moment. Whatever, he doesn’t understand my garden love.

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If nothing else, at least my added measures protect the garden from my not-so-ferocious dog. Except the soap. He likes to steal that.

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Garden

Farmer Jess

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I absolutely love to garden. I started my own garden with my dad’s help my junior year of college in the front yard of our rental home and I’ve been hooked ever since. My friends and family know how much I love it. My neighbors even call me Farmer Jess! Did I mentioned that my maiden name means “farmer” in German!?

This weekend was pretty much non-stop yard work and gardening. Brian and I started to tackle a huge project behind our fence, removing all of the branches, bushes, leave, etc., that we’d thrown back there the past two years and shredding it all in the wood chipper. We spent Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon and are about 2/3 the way complete. It looks so much better and our neighbors behind us even came out to say thank you and to introduce themselves! I found three snakes, all of which I tried to save from accidentally being raked and wood chipped :-/ But who cares anymore about yard work!  I want to talk about my garden!!!!!

I went to Home Depot after Easter brunch yesterday and picked up some perennials for our front yard. I also got some pink begonias for the front of the house. But most important, I bought veggies, and lots of them.

In my excitement to start my vegetable garden I didn’t think too much about quantity… so I went overboard just a little. I bought 18 heads of romaine, 18 heads of spinach and 18 heads of butter crunch lettuce. Holy smokes, that is A LOT of lettuce.

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We are gonna be eating a lot of salads this summer.

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I also planted a ton of red and white onions! I’ve never planted onions before, so we’ll see how they do. I’m intrigued to find out just how you know when an onion is ready to be picked since they grow underground.

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The hubby is excited about the onions — OK, he isn’t actually excited because gardening isn’t his thing at all (although he does like to harvest with me. Of course, the most fun part!), but he does loves onions.

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I doubled my gates around the beds with onions because my evil dog loves to 1. be in places he is not allowed to be, 2. dig — but only in dirt, not in grass, 3. be an all-around jerk in his yard. And onions are really bad for dogs. He was only interested in my garden last year when I was inside it and he was on the other side of the fence, so here’s hoping with two fences and no people inside them, he leaves the garden beds alone. I’ll have to do some onion monitoring this week to make sure he’s not sneaking in when we aren’t looking.

The last thing I planted so far was herbs! I planted oregano, tarragon, sweet basil, sweet mint and rosemary. I bought some hanging planters on clearance last year from Target, so I planted my herbs, then hung each planter on the fence. I love how this looks!

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I planted the basil with the lettuce since I plan on getting more of it later in the season.

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I am pretty pumped that I already have a ton of stuff planted and that I used a bed I didn’t use last year and the space where an old stump used to be, so I’m hardly in any of the prime tomato panting territory! Woo! I’ll definitely be expanding my beds in the corner of my yard this year, too… when the time comes. My strawberries seem to be coming to life again, and the blueberry and raspberry bushes I planted last year… well, who knows how they did this winter. Yikes.

My last exciting garden news, and wow you will all think I am a huge dork, is that my asparagus that I planted two years ago sprouted!!!!! AHHHHH I was so excited I ran to find Brian to tell him. And then I called my dad 🙂 The funny thing is, there’s just one! I don’t know if more will grow or not… but either way, I love my single asparagus and it is going to be deliciousssss.

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Anyone start their garden yet? If you did, what are you planting? I am thinking about planting broccoli in a planter on my deck this year. It always gets eaten in my garden, so if I don’t do a planter, I don’t want to plant it again. Too many worms.

As for the rest of my garden, I’m thinking TONS of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash/zucchini, and lots of peppers. Now peppers — Brian is excited for those. Hopefully this year he isn’t foolish enough to bite into a cayenne pepper, seeds and all. Ouch.

Life

New camera!

New camera

Guess who got a BEAUTIFUL camera for her birthday!?! Me!! I am still learning my way around my Cannon Rebel, but holy amazing — it is so much nicer than a point and shoot camera. I am in love.

I spent a few hours outside this weekend working on my lamp project that I shared yesterday and snapping photos of my pup and our neighbors’ pup. These two are simply hilarious together.

These photos were all shot at f-stop 3.5

Remmy in yard small

Fence run

Winnie at fence

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winnie fence

Winnie running at fence

Remmy up close

Winnie tongue

Winnie

These two are the best of friends — it’s always fun when they play together.