Friday, June 25, 2010

Its been hot, rainy or humid for the last few days. Keeping mostly inside.  Its been in the low 80's, but when the humidity is in the 70% range it just isn't fun to be outside. 

Of course the whole woodchuck fiasco has had me pretty miffed, but it wasn't really enough to keep me out of the garden, but combine it with weather and it will stop my chattering mood in its tracks.

I'm saying it quietly cause you know how it goes when you say something and then the opposite happens.... but it looks like Wednesday is the last day the garden got raided.
I haven't seen a woodchuck since Wednesday.
Granted, there isn't much left for a groundhog to get into as far as my brassicas go... but there is some stuff left and the Swiss chard is regrowing.
They did miss two of my brussels sprouts and the 3 purple cauliflower might make it back if they get left alone.  The groundhogs did not eat the center of the plants so the leaves could still regrow.
I have read in garden books that things like cabbages can regenerate if the original head is harvested right.  If you don't cut too close to the soil when you cut a cabbage head (leave about 2" of stalk), the plant will regrow a few miniature heads in a cluster.I just might try and see if i can use that information and try to apply it to my situation.  If i cut what is left of the heart of my cabbage plants out, it may set up a similar signal to the plant.  Only trouble is that there are few outer leaves left... but it might not matter if the roots are strong enough.
My other option is to leave alone what is left and see what it does.  If  the cabbage do not head, the loose leaves will still be edible, just not as sweet and crisp.
Luckily, there is enough time for me to start new seeds of all my brassicas to get a fall crop.
If i am fortunate, the woodchucks won't be so interested in my garden by that time of year.... but maybe it will be worse?
Winter fattening time vs. baby woodchuck feeding time....

But i  think that last woodchuck may have had an encounter with my fence in a big way.  I went out yesterday to see if there was more stuff ruined (there wasn't ptl!) and i noticed the fence in the back part of the garden (the way they exit when i scare them off) was all twisted up (candy cane twist, not knotted mess). The top two strands were wound together enough that it had stuck like that until i undid it.
Now if the woodchuck had got caught in the two strands enough to tangle them like that, it would have been getting continuous shocks for who knows how long.  And that was a rainy day, so water may have made it worse.  So if the woodchuck that charged me had gotten tangled, it sure would explain its behavior.
But i don't remember if  i did check the fence after that incident.  I wish i was sure, because if the wire got twirled for some other reason i'd like to know.

I do wonder why i haven't seen one of them since then.
There were three, all about the same small size.  Hubby had harassed them a bit with the pellet gun, hoping they'd decide it was too hostile an area to set up house, but it didn't seem to work. Maybe the combo of it all did something.  Or they got that brain roundworm disease...
I won't claim victory over this batch of groundhogs 'till midwinter when i'm sure they are hibernating (or until their skins are tacked to the back wall of my garden shed, Daniel Boone style) because my garden is full of things they will either eat to the nubs or just taste-test enough to ruin.

I did take reconnaissance photos yesterday, but didn't feel like posting them.

*************************   about 3 hours later*********************

I took some more this evening since i did see one of the groundhogs run across the back of the next yard over. If i'm lucky, they have decided to stick to the other side of my neighbors' house. I really wish they'd do something about that woodpile.  If it were stacked properly it wouldn't be so inviting to vermin.

Anyway, here are the pics from 6/23/10

Kohlrabi & Chard




Kale stands untouched and a small cabbage plant to the bottom right was missed.

Its har4d to see, but there are the small purple cauliflower plants here. They got their big round leaves nipped off, but they have their center leaves least 2 of them seem to.  I need to weed this area.

And these are the Brussels sprouts, some seem to have made it, they might survive to grow if they don't get eaten again.

and Today

Looks pretty much the same to me except the chard seems to be regrowing. Its a cut-and-come-again veggie, so that is encouraging.

Kohlrabi and chard

.I haven't bothered to weed here lately, the weather has been uncomfortable for me and its too depressing to spend much time looking at the ruins.
This is the cabbage, i think it is also the same.

The collards look the same, damage not too bad on them for the most part.

The broccoli, being my favorite and most anticipated crop, of course got the worst of it.  Cabbage is my second favorite by the way, and the damage is approximately proportionate.

 At least the kale looks great.  I have never grown it before, based on the level of enjoyment by the groundhogs of my other favorites i have a strange feeling that kale will not be to my liking either.
Lets hope! It might be the only crop those nasty things leave for me.

 They still haven't noticed my little cabbage in the lower right corner.

I figured while i was out there to take more pics of what is doing well.
Tomatoes and corn....  need weeding, can't tell the corn from the weeds and i do have basil to the left of the tomatoes and i have marigolds to the right.

Carrots, beets, rutabagas, beans and behind them are the brussels and cauliflower

Squash always cheer me up,  they can make anyone feel like a successful gardener.

Topsy-Turvey tomato is doing well.  Its more than doubled in size.

The gift cuttings i got last week are mixed. Some are still putting on a game face and some are obviously not going to root.
There is at least one out of each group that has shriveled or balckened,  i think i only have 2 pieces of the kiwi that are still hanging on. Hardy kiwi are a cantankerous  little creatures anyway. lol
Though many leaves have dropped from the cuttings, there do seem to be tiny green buds remaining in the leaf scar area.  They might develop if roots start to grow.  Its just a matter of time to see how it goes.

I planted the chitted Autumn Olive seed but it hasn't emerged from the soil surface yet.

If i am going to replace the ruined cole crops with new seedlings i'll need to start seed this coming week.  It might be a good opportunity to test the year-end value of the row covers, if the season cuts me short on the brassicas, the row covers may make the difference.

I read in one of my garden books, i think it was Joy of Gardening, that i can grow my own onion sets easily. The time to start that would be about now. Just plant the seeds directly in the garden and they will grow just enough to be set-sized by late fall. They can be lifted from the garden, cured like big onions and stored cool and dark in a fridge or root cellar for the winter and then set out as early as possible in the spring.
Worth a shot.

Oh and lastly...

The Mighty Hunter
That's my Caper...  with his first mouse (that i know of) He's been 100% indoor kitty since we found him when he was about 5 weeks old.  I have no idea how we got a mouse in here, i have never seen evidence of one before, maybe the weather and the pouring rain drove it in. I'm glad the cat found it though!
He left it right at the doorway to the living room just where he knew i'd see it.  He usually leaves his Rosie Rats there for me instead, so i almost didn't notice it at first.

So you know i'm very proud of him cause in order to brag about his catch, i have to admit that i had a mouse in my home and i had to show my hated pink carpet!  The carpet came with the house and we want bamboo floors, but until we can afford wal-to-wall bamboo, i am stuck with the color i dislike the most.
Oh well.
Hubby teases Caper and calls him useless cause he sleeps all day and 'capers' through the house all night...  but i told hubbs that he can't call the cat useless anymore. :o)

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