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.

GardenProtection

  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.

harvest1

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.

RipeTomatoes

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.

remnotingarden

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Garden, Life

Tomato Tally

My buddy Amy suggested I keep a running tally of how many tomatoes I get from my garden this year. Being the garden-lover I am, how could I pass up such a fun idea?

Yesterday’s haul at 8:30 p.m. proved very fruitful, no garden pun intended. And I know we missed a bunch of pickins because it was getting dark. As of last night, the tomato tally is up to 33. Not bad! I am hoping to get enough to make a batch of salsa this upcoming weekend… that means that I need to stop giving them away and eating them, which is the hard part. I still have a few onions left from my garden and my jalapeño peppers are growing like weeds. If I have enough tomatoes, I should be able to make salsa almost purely from my garden 🙂

Veggies

In this picture you’ll see a green zucchini, a yellow squash, an oddly shaped cucumber, a handful of cherry tomatoes, three purple heirloom tomatoes, a few Roma tomatoes, a few early girl tomatoes and one yellow heirloom tomato. That are so pretty. There are also two banana peppers, which I do not remember planting. I wonder if labels got mixed up at Home Depot or something…. I planted tabasco peppers (those aren’t growing, darn), red bell peppers, green bell peppers, cayenne peppers and jalapeño peppers. Somehow the bananas snuck in there. They won’t go to waste.

Speaking of nature (good transition, yes?), Brian and I hiked the Billy Goat trail between the C&O Canal and Potomac River.

Hubbsonhike

It was the best hike we’ve ever been on and I can’t recommend it enough. If you are anywhere near Great Falls National Park, you have to hike this trail.

Great Falls

Other than hiking, I spent the weekend winning a round of mini golf….

Putput

(Go me! I never win at mini golf!)

Golf… hanging out with our neighbors…. (yes, our dogs are strange)

Dogs in tub

… and visiting with my cousins. Oh, and I helped paint my friend’s basement. Quite the tiring and eventful weekend.

Hope you all had great weekends!

Garden, Graphic Design, Life

Farmers Markets — Eat local!

This post is going to ramble a bit. Consider yourself warned.

I am not a huge fan of summer weather. Maryland summers are humid, hot, sticky, stormy… I am more of a spring and fall weather kinda girl. That being said, summer really is the best season ever. The days are longer, schedules free up, activities are more active… and my favorite… the food! My garden has been doing really well this year. And just like last year, I want to really expand my planting area in the future. I only did a little expansion this year, mainly because I didn’t want to fork over too much cash money.

I’ve got 10 tomato plants, peas, strawberries, green beans, lettuce, peppers… all sorts of goodies. And what I don’t grow in my garden, I have been really enjoying shopping for at local farmers markets! It’s great to eat local foods and to support small businesses and farmers.

I am so lucky that we have a farmers market ON CAMPUS at the University of Maryland. Every Wednesday I walk over and buy delicious, fresh goodies. This week I bought blueberries, raspberries and tomatoes. Did I mention we also have a sustainable food truck!?! I bought a lamb sandwich and fresh lemonade. It was AMAZING. The vendors sell so much yummy stuff (hormone-free meats, fresh-baked pastries, dipping sauces, fresh eggs…). You name it, you can probably find it there — well, as long as it is in season.

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, Howard County offers a traveling farmers market. I’ve only gone once at the beginning of the season, but it too was a great experience. I bought fresh eggs and some yummy greens. Fresh eggs are amazing. I want my own chickens… too bad my dog would probably play with them to death.

I’ve really gotten into eating fresh, organic produce lately so I am going to interrupt my own post to share some awesome blogs I’ve stumbled upon recently and I love. If you are interested at all in eating organic or less processed foods, check out these three awesome blogs: Food Babe, 100 Days of Real Food & Deliciously Organic. I’ve got a whole organic chicken in our crockpot cooking for dinner tonight using a recipe from 100 Days of Real Food. My step sister also has an impressive blog about eating healthy: Fuel My Family. They are all awesome — check ’em out.

Also, don’t worry. I’m not about to turn this into a health food blog. Just figured I’d share since I started rambling about vegetables today 🙂

OK, back to farmers markets.

The real reason I wanted to write this post was to talk about how Dana, my bff, has started selling her baked goods at a farmers market in Laurel! That’s right, Little King’s Confections will be at the Main Street Farmers Market EVERY THURSDAY! I am so proud of her 🙂

Little Kings

Little Kings Farmers Market

Little Kings Confections

Little Kings Confections Market

OK, ramble almost over. See that logo on Dana’s booth? Yup, I designed it. It was really simple to do in Adobe Illustrator. I used the fonts Lavenderia for “Little King’s” and Code Light for “Confections.” The crown was a free clip art that I swapped from black to white. It is adorable 🙂

 

Little Kings Confections logoo

Happy ramblings & happy Friday!