by Charlene Burgi
We are conditioned to insure things we value. The obvious insurances that come to mind are for our homes, automobiles, life and health. Yet, there are other insurances that we subscribe to that are not as obvious.
We insure our heath by eating nutritious food, exercising, and wearing sunscreen and sunglasses when we are outdoors. We insure our safety when we buckle up when driving and follow vehicle codes and speed limits that are set to safeguard our wellbeing behind the wheel. We even insure our water supply by installing proper irrigation equipment with an air gap or backflow device to prevent contaminated water flowing back into our drinking water.
Protecting our investments comes in many forms. As I walked around the garden I considered the investment we’ve made in our landscape and the steps we are taking to insure its success. For example, while Iwas planning where the new bare root raspberries and blueberries are going to be planted, several thoughts came to mind. First I considered the hydrozones—that is, what sun exposures, soil conditions and irrigation methods are needed to keep the plants healthy. I also contemplated what methods must be employed to protect the plants from being eaten by browsing animals and the fruit from being gobbled by birds.
I took a walk early this morning thinking about these things. Damage can occur from deer, gophers, frost, wind and other elements—destroying a garden if we don’t protect it. As I looked around, my assessment assured me that we are adequately insuring all our purchases and hard work in the garden.
We are creating fences to deter rabbits and deer from entering the vegetable garden. Wire cages are protecting young flowering plants from browsing cottontail rabbits. Submerged wire baskets and plantings of artemisia, columbine and euphorbia are discouraging gophers. Even young echinaceas are protected from the elements with bottomless one-gallon milk jugs until they get a bit larger, when they will be supported by companion plantings of sunflower, fritillary and Russian sage to help buffer strong winds that can knock over these tall beauties. Empty bags of soil conditioner and the aroma of well-rotted chicken manure, compost and mulch are reminders of the insurance we’ve invested in for a healthy environment and optimum growing season.
Structures and equipment also play a part in this insurance. Jack designed beautiful wooden supports to carry the weight of the heavy blooming peonies, insuring a proper showcase for these glorious flowers. The greenhouse protects young seedlings, while covered row hoops will take on the task as the seedlings are moved outside. In the summer, bird nets will be placed over trees to shield the fruit as it ripens, and a smart controller will insure just the correct amount of water is applied to replace the water lost through evapotranspiration.
When I consider the joy gardening brings to me, I find the cost of all this insurance worth the price. I invite you to walk through your garden. Do you have enough insurance to cover your investments? If not, what needs to be done?