by Charlene Burgi
Someone is eating my green beans, and it isn’t anyone living in the house! All the plants that were started in the greenhouse were set outside to climb on the netting for the space-saving vertical garden. Each day I noticed one or two leaves missing from the plant closest to the end of the row, until nothing existed but the stem. After stripping the first plant, the mystery diner moved on to the next. Watching the slow disappearing act prompted me to plant more seeds and cover the few plants left with wire cages. The strategy behind this maneuver was to determine if it was insects that could enter the wired area or furry critters that knew a way to scale the fence.
It is now clear I have something very small and (assuming) furry that ventures into the garden while we sleep. I learned it cannot get to the leaves in the caged area. The critter leaves no sign of paw prints or scat to help me solve this mystery. And the real enigma is this critter has select taste for green beans only. It has not touched any other veggie in the garden!
You might ask what I am going to do about this dilemma. First, I plan to plant bush green beans instead of climbers and use a row cover to protect them from predators. Next, as soon as the rains pass, I am going to sift a layer of flour around the existing green beans to see if I can find out who the culprit is. With this information, I can better determine what I will need to do to protect the plants—or change my thoughts on vertical gardening.
Anyone have a similar experience they would like to share? If so, what was your solution?
What I mean is, June showers bring July flowers? This late rain is confusing but what a pleasant surprise to have rain this far into June! And to think we had over an inch and a half of rain in just one day!
As I walked around the garden this morning the plants seemed as if they had doubled in size overnight. (Well, not the green beans!) The rains must have provided more than the plants were getting from irrigation water. With anticipated high temperatures this weekend, we’re assured to see even greater results!
The rains did bring a few things to mind to share with you:
- What better opportunity to weed? The roots will easily slip out of the moistened soil now.
- Softened soil will make it easy to create swales to naturally capture rainwater and carry it to the plants. Fill the swales with mulch or rock to keep the waterways open.
- Set boards down on the soil where you are working to prevent compaction. The boards will better distribute your weight than your footprints.
A Simple Tip
The Fourth of July often finds us away from our gardens. If you have a few plants that are not covered by your irrigation system, you might consider employing this idea: Cut off the top of a one-gallon milk carton or one-liter plastic soda bottle, and poke several small holes around all four sides and the bottom of the carton. Fill the void of the carton with sphagnum moss, and dig a hole deep enough to bury the carton close to the plant needing irrigation without disturbing the root system. Invert the removed top of the carton (to act as a funnel) down into the sphagnum moss and fill the carton with water. The water will slowly seep into the soil; the sphagnum moss will hold the moisture for an extended period of time and buy you a few days away without losing your new posy!