The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens


6 Comments

What’s Growing: Seeds and Weeds

I hope to be busy in the Potager these next few days. After what I believe was a very successful and enjoyable Artists’ Studio (and garden) Tour over this past weekend, I feel even further behind in my garden chores!

The Potager May 28 2013

The weeds are well, growing like weeds! I did a lot of primping and prepping in the garden in anticipation of the tour but it seems as though with every step I take, another weed grows. And the Silver Maple next door is raining seeds on my Potager – they are everywhere. Here, covering the cold frame where I am currently holding my transplants among the over wintering lettuces and kales – away from the mouths of hungry, curious rabbits.

Seedlings in the Cold Frame

I have big, fat rabbit trouble this year but I don’t want to put up a fence that will make it difficult to tend to the garden. I’m on the short side and two feet of fence just may keep me out. Of the six brussel sprout starts I grew from seed only one survived. I didn’t think brussel sprouts would be appetizing to a rabbit, but appetizers they were. This means war, you know! My sole survivor is now under wraps courtesy of my father who fashioned this rabbit plant guard – I must make more of these for next year.

Brussels Under Wrap

Rabbit Guard

I am going to try a few other “fenceless” tactics, too: dried blood, lime peels, cayenne pepper, Marigolds, Catnip and noise. Mojo, my large, bustling dog doesn’t seem to scare any of the rabbits – all three sizes of them. Apparently I am not threatening either even when I yell HOSSENFEFFER!

The Catnip will probably attract my second bit of trouble – cats. Roaming nighttime cats are attracted to any bare earth in my garden. This year, though, I am using my plant trays upside down to guard my seedlings until they grow large enough to be off the cats’ area attractions.

Lettuces and Kale Under Guard

Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Chard and Radish Seeds Undercover

Herbs, Borage and Calendula are not on the rabbit menu. Amaranth seems to be a delicacy.

Herbs in the Potager

Herbs in the Potager

Lovage Tarragon and Horseradish

Lovage, Tarragon and Horseradish

The potatoes are safe in their hoop. The garlic apparently works on rabbits as well as vampires. The peas somehow grew up unscathed.

Potato Hoop

Potato Hoop

Garlic

Garlic

Peas

Peas

Newly planted this year, Asparagus! Thankfully, not appetizing to the rabbit masses, but I did pick off three Spotted Asparagus Beetles this morning. It seems to be doing well. These were planted from root crowns.

New Asparagus Shoots

New Asparagus Shoots

The next scuttle? The Berry Battle! Who will find and pick the ripest strawberries and blackberries first? Me? The munks? The skunks? The birds? The ravaging rabbits?

Strawberries and Rhubarb

Strawberries and Rhubarb

Blackberries

Wild Blackberries Tamed

If only rabbits loved to eat maple seeds and bindweeds.

Advertisement


5 Comments

November Observations: Bye Bye Blackbird

Wonderful, warm November – doesn’t that sound odd? But it has been, was. This morning it is 12° F. The first few snowflakes swirled in our sky on November 24. By November 28 the ground is white. I found it unusual to see a Red-winged Blackbird at my feeder. They usually leave for warmer climates by now. Each year I try to record when I think they have finally migrated:

2009: Last Red-winged Blackbird sighting recorded on November 2
2010: Last Red-winged Blackbird sighting recorded on November 11
2011: Not recorded, but last Grackle sighting recorded on November 7 – the Redwings are usually not far behind
2012: Last Red-winged Blackbird sighting recorded on November 28

The first to leave are males in their prime followed by their ladies. The last to leave are usually the young males not quite matured into their full black feathers. Young males are what I have been seeing at the feeders this month.

November is typically described as drab, grey but this Fall it has been anything but.

Pin Oak Leaves Nov 2012
The red leaves of Pin Oak

Maple Seeds
Maple Seedlings

Switch Grass in Nov
Switch Grass

crabapplesinnov
Purple Prince Crabapples

Untitled
Winterberry ‘Winter Gold’

The red Winterberries were eaten before I had a chance to photograph them! This year I’ve fenced in my young shrubs foregoing the chicken wire wrap. I read somewhere, and apologize for not remembering the source, that rabbits don’t like to feel fenced in and a simple gate around your shrubs will deter them from dining. We’ll find out if it works.

Untitled
Fenced in to deter rabbits

Snow on Sumac
First snow

Again, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day has snuck past me. Aside from berries and a few fading blooms of Coral Honeysuckle and Scabiosa, not much blooms for me in November with the exception of this surprise Daisy.

November Daisy
Surprise Daisy bloom

And so “dull, grey” November fades into gleeful, glitzy December. I am thankful to take in its natural beauty before it goes.

Untitled

Bye bye blackbird. I look forward to your return in Spring.