Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No, I Haven't Fallen Off The Face of the Earth, I'm Just Summering...and At War With a Rodent

Sorry for not posting much.

However, life is pretty calm when I'm not herding teaching seventh graders. It's time to catch up on reading, deep cleaning my house (you have no idea what a wreck it gets during the school year), clean out closets, work on lessons for next year, organize my office, knitting, and work on my yard and garden. And of course, getting to spend time with Mr. Bluebird and The Feline Children.

And naps. Naps are important.

The heat has been pretty unusual during most of June and into July. That means that my yard work has to take place pretty early in the morning or fairly late in the evening when it isn't so hot. Weeds can grow overnight in our climate, so there's quite a bit of weeding, and feeding of the plants, pruning, and even watering. Hard to believe we had floods in May and now we're dry, dry, dry.

And then there's the chipmunk.

Every year we put out a vegetable garden. This year we've moved the tomatoes over to another part of the yard, and the center raised bed has red and green peppers, jalapenos, beets, lettuce, carrots, bush beans, broccoli, and cucumbers. This garden is fenced off with what we call our "rabbit fence" because we do have quite a number of rabbits that call our yard home. Another fenced off area contains some lima bean plants as well as some potatoes.

For the record, I've never grown lima beans, potatoes, or broccoli. My garden every year resembles a science experiment because you never quite know what's going to happen. I think our cold wet spring, and the early heat wave in June has impacted some of my experiments, so to speak. The broccoli is all leaves with no vegetable part yet, which may be due to the heat - broccoli is somewhat of a cold weather plant. I'm thinking that may be the issue with the potatoes as well as the plants are kind of floppy and leggy and not bushy like the Southern Living Garden Book said they should be. As for the lima beans, they got put in late because the first batch rotted after our flood in May and I had to replant. The jury is still out on them.

Anyhow, back to the chipmunk.

I have never, in nearly twenty years of growing tomatoes, had a rabbit eat a tomato. They just don't seem to like them. So, as a result, I've never put up a rabbit fence around my tomato plants. It just wasn't necessary. However, this year we have a new resident in our yard, and he's starting to really annoy me.

We've spotted him a few times including one time when he was on the sidewalk out front of my office window and I nearly was able to get a picture of him (but of course he spotted me and ran off.)   He's tunneled around the flower beds both in the front yard and in the back.  And of course, he's now eating my tomatoes.

The holes in the yard I can deal with.  But to eat my tomatoes?  That's uncalled for especially since my plants really aren't producing all that many tomatoes to begin with.  For some weird reason all the fruit on the plants is low to the ground (within chipmunk reach) and there's not even a whole lot at that.  I'm starting to suspect these plants, all of which are different varieties, may have had a hard time adjusting from cool, wet weather and then sudden plunge into a heatwave. 

It appears that I may have to put up a chipmunk fence now.


Melissa E. said...

My broccoli isn't flowering yet, either, and I agree that it's probably heat related. I wonder if a chipmunk is smart enough to scale a fence?

Dragonrider said...

We have thriving plants right next to plants that are barely holding on. Same kind of plant, planted at the same time. Still haven't figured that one out.
Tomatoes? One is huge, with many blossoms, while two feet away the other one is half the size, three blossoms.
Sigh...and summer is almost over and I'm still not sure of my teaching assignment. It's changed three times since June.