OK….I Have Declared War In My Backyard!!!!!

I have been incredibly busy these past few weeks and have a lot of updates to share!

By early June (about the 8th) I finally finished my Four gardens in the yard.  Along with my vegetable garden, I created a herb garden, a flower garden (both in the backyard) and also created an Italian garden (vegetables, herbs and flowers combined) in the front yard.  I was hoping to do more of the flower beds elsewhere in the yard, but ran out of steam and funds.

I hate to admit it but keeping up with my three gardens in the backyard has almost pushed me over the edge.

I have been plagued with Slugs and other bugs eating and stripping my plants.  I set beer traps (the staff at the nursery gave me instructions) and I ended up using a bio friendly pesticide as a last resort, also thanks to a friends advice, a few drops of Ivory liquid dish soap with water in a spray bottle has helped as well.  Finally after almost three weeks, I am making progress.   I have lost some plants sadly, basil, green peppers, lemon balm, bee balm, spearmint and numerous herbs and annuals.  Luckily I’m managing to save 65% of my plants so far, but this is still struggle.

Setting cups in the soil, 1/4 inch above the soil, 1/2 filled with beer saved my vegetables from Slugs!!!! These things are the ugliest living creatures I have ever seen!

Bonide products have helped, I got one for insects, Bon-Neem, it is also a Miticide and Fungicide and the Repels-All to deter the critters.

I also had problems with baby squirrels and chipmunks wrestling and trashing plants in the vegetable garden.  Kept breaking off my pepper plants and trampling the lettuce, etc, luckily they had no interest in eating them.  Had to place sticks around plants to protect them, also wove fabric softener strips in the low part of the fence, they don’t like the smell (I removed them before rain, and replaced after). This helped some.

I cut bounce fabric sheets into strips and wove them in the low area of my garden fence. This helped deter some of the critters. They don’t like the smell. Just don’t leave them out to get wet in the rain, can contaminate the soil.

Incredibly, an abandoned kitty showed up the week after the playing craziness started, and we kept her as a guest until we could find her a good home.  (I’m really allergic to cats so we could not keep her unfortunately)  She did a great job cutting down their population and chasing them off. She now has a good home and will be visiting with us from time to time to help out with these little guys!  So far they are playing somewhere else and I have not had to use fabric sheets again.

Kitty, our visiting friend, helped with the chipmunk and squirrel issues. We found her a nice home. She will be visiting us on occasion to help keep control of the critters!

Next, my neighbors new chickens (11 of them who were not bothered by Kitty) were let loose a couple of days, two and a half weeks back, they began digging and demolished part of my flower and herb garden looking for bugs.  Ripped the plants clear out of the ground…by the time I got home from work, the roots had burned in the sun and I lost quite a few….never knew chickens could be so destructive!  Had to ask the family to please keep them penned up….when they were at my bird feeders it was not a problem, but once they attacked the beds, it was the first place they headed when they visited, it became a nightmare.  I spent an entire weekend reworking both gardens, planting a few new flowers so the beds would not look so empty…also had to replace a good portion of the mulch.  I cried through most of that weekend….I was so discouraged.

The chickens first hung around my feeders with the other birds, but after a few visits, went straight for my flower beds!!!  I never imagined they could be this destructive to a garden while looking for bugs.

Unfortunately, to add insult to injury, the woodchuck and bunnies started eating my flowers I planted specifically for the butterflies and humming birds.  (Phlox , Super Bells,  Butterfly Bush,  Petunias)  Our visiting Kitty helped some, but only when she was outside, couldn’t leave her out all day as we have a few foxes that started showing up in the yard because of the neighbors chickens.   I started using the animal repellant, I need to spray it every other night, rotating between the plants so the scent stays strongly present,  it is helping luckily.  Some of these beautiful plants are beyond the edge of returning, but  I am happy to share a few are coming back, (Perennials mostly).

The wood chuck really did a number on my pink and white phlox, they are trying to come back. The Repels-All has helped thankfully. Not sure they will survive and come back next year. Poor things are almost naked!!!!

I also installed a low white fence around my flower and herb garden in the back, this has helped to keep the critters from trampling through and has also minimized grazing. It also stopped the chickens, when they got out again by accident last week.  I almost had a heart attack when I got home from work and saw them at the bird feeders, but luckily they did not attack the beds.  I herded them home….

This inexpensive white wire fence has also helped. Amazingly, it helps deters the chickens and critters. They have to work to get at the beds, don’t think this appeals to them.  You can see some of my flowers have been chewed pretty bad.  I really hope they make it!

I have to tell you all this yard has proven to be more difficult with pests than any yard I have had before.  I knew it would be work, but I never would have imagined it would be like this!!!!  My poor boyfriend and family think I’m possessed, but they don’t understand what it is to have a gardener’s love of cultivating plants……Luckily, I know most of you reading this do and can relate to my frustration.

I have learned so much about pest control, sadly wish I did not have to lose so much through the process.  Hard not to get discouraged when the money, time and effort you invest is being attacked by every living creature in your yard.

The funny part of this is my front yard is doing wonderful, no fence, minimal repellent use and it is growing really well!  I am so grateful to have one area that I can feast my eyes upon with joy!!!!

As for the rest, I have declared War in my backyard, and going to do it diligently and as bio-friendly as I can….if any of you have any suggestions that would help, particularly with the insects, I would be more than happy and appreciative to hear them!  A girl needs all the help she can get!  This is going to be a very busy summer for me!!

I hope to update you all again soon,

Happy gardening and keep noodling!

Sheryl

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Garden? Not Garden? I Chose To Garden!!!!

I took the leap and decided to Garden……

As I shared in Mid May, between the rain, failing seeds and physical issues (pulled out my back and had vertigo, three weeks of barely being able doing anything!) I was totally frustrated with not being able to start my vegetable garden and accomplishing other inspired yard projects.

Well on Sunday Morning, May 20th, I was sitting on my back deck feeling down and overwhelmed, realizing that it was late spring. I started to consider container gardening on the deck as my realistic option, but to see such a spot perfect for vegetables sitting there untouched, was just too much.

Without saying a word to my boyfriend Jim, I got up, walked to the shed, pulled out all the shovels, tools, wheel barrel and garden gloves, and placed them next to the back deck. As lousy as I felt physically, I felt more lousy sitting there staring at what was supposed to be my garden by now.  I could not bear to miss another summer of gardening bliss.

Here are photo’s of before I started and my progress breaking ground!

Here is the area before I created my garden. It has excellent sun here, over 7.5 hours daily, perfect for veggies! This is the best spot in the yard and will be conveniently off the deck, 20 steps from my kitchen!

This is the beginning of my garden, I did not have access to a rototiller so created it the old fashion way with a shovel, muscle and sweat!

There was a good eight inches of top soil to work with! I first started with a 12′ x 8′ in mind, but I soon realized I needed more space for the veggies I love!

Over two days I continued expanding until the garden reached my perfect size of 16′ x 12′! The Iris’s were almost done blooming so those will be cut down and bulbs dug out. I have other flower beds where they will be planted in the fall.

I was breaking ground late, but I knew if I could get the garden established and started by the first week of June it could still be successful.  Luckily, many local nurseries sell healthy “garden ready” organic vegetables and herbs so my failed seedlings didn’t matter.  I could still have my garden!

Happily, I realized our woodchuck has been avoiding this area of the yard now for three weeks. He does not like the presence of people or the activity of the bird feeders attracting more critters and birds to the yard.   His once quiet yard is now one of constant activity and he is now frequenting the large unoccupied lot adjacent to the back of our yard!  This turns the odds in my favor, which is really encouraging.

I have to say it was a battle with rain showers, which slowed down my progress, but the basic foundation of my garden is now established!  It is 12 feet by 16 feet, just right for all the yummy veggies I want.  The fence is over 1 foot deep in the ground, secured with heavy bricks.  The height is 3 1/2 ‘.   I left the top loose so if the wood chuck climbs  it will bow and buckle back due to his weight making him feel like he is falling backwards.  A friend said this worked for him so I am trying it.  I will be sure to let you know how it works out.

Digging this type of fence along with establishing this new garden has been one of the most exhausting challenges I have ever attempted.  But gratefully, with a lot of praying, sweat and tears, I did it!

Here are photo’s of my progress…

The top soil in this yard is excellent, it was a lot of work shaking out the soil, but saved me considerable money on purchasing bags of top soil!

Using affordable chicken wire and fencing posts I put up the fence. This required a lot of deep digging for the heavy bricks that would secure the fence under the ground ( discouraging digging! ) Placed fencing on outside on posts, so the loose top would flop out when climbed, making a wood chuck fall backs enough to discourage climbing. This worked for a friend, hopefully it will work for me as well!

Yesterday, I planted tomatoes, peppers, cukes and zucchini,  the rest will go in over the next few days as each bed area is prepped and completed.   I still need to put in a walking path with patio bricks, add more fertilizer and mulch but the basic garden is here…..I can now blissfully play and noodle in my vegetable garden to my heart’s content!

What a blessing to have this little piece of heaven in my backyard.

I cut and removed the Iris bulbs (to plant in other flower beds in the fall), then put up the rest of the fence and cultivated the areas where the zucchini, cucumber, Peppers and tomatoes were planned to go. I did not finish getting them in till late yesterday eve. We are getting heavy rain here today so will finish the rest of the planting within the next few days. Still have the patio blocks and additional mulch to add as well.

To Garden Or Not To Garden…..

This past month has been a hectic one for me.  Where did April go??????  Now it’s the middle of May.  My goal to blog has been doing as well as my seedlings I started four weeks ago.  Not many are growing.  I have never had a batch of seedlings fail like this before.  Perhaps this is a sign that a garden is just not in the picture for me for me this summer.

Our yard is full of more critters than I could imagine, including, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, turkeys and a pudgy little wood chuck.

I have been trying to think of ways to design fencing, especially for the woodchuck, but in all honesty the energy and resources to do it right is a bigger challenge and expense than I thought.  I do not have a good cheering section that tells me my ability to keep the woodchuck out will be a successful one……  Hmmmmm, “To Garden Or Not To Garden”….that is the question.

Not to mention the woodchuck, the weather has been crazy here, pretty cold and rainier than usual! There has been more rain this May than all of April put together!    Praying it will not be another one of those gloomy summers….

I am not sure what I will end up doing. Maybe I can consider other options,,,,create a smaller garden then I originally planned and buy pre-started plants, or I could also create a small container garden on my deck. These are not what I originally inspired to noodle but maybe its the best I can do considering it all.

The thought of not gardening this summer depresses me! Even if I end up with only one tomato plant on the deck, I will some how garden something!  Life is just too short not to do something you love.

I will let you know by month end what I successfully achieve.

Happy Noodling Always,

Sheryl

 

 

 

 

Noodling My Garden

It has been a long, long while through my journey since I’ve had a vegetable and herb garden to enjoy.   This Spring I have been inspired to rekindle this love and decided to noodle my way to create both types of gardens.  Gardening always gave me a peaceful joy and happiness in my soul, and I genuinely long to experience this bliss again.

Where I am renting the yard is sunny and huge!  Perfect for growing vegetables as well as multiple flower beds on the property where my herbs can be added.

This vegetable garden will be a big project to undertake, but I am so excited to get started.  I already picked out the spot and started the seedlings.  I first created a visual map through drawing and noodling to get me started. I really enjoyed playing around with what vegetables I wanted to plant, space requirements and their placement in the garden.

My garden will be approximately 22 by 17 feet in size.  This size will be perfect me as I plan to experiment with vertical gardening techniques using homemade trellises to maximize the use of space.  It will be interesting to see how much I can yield from a garden this size!

I am hoping to break ground this week, using good old muscle and a medium size tiller.  I may end up hiring someone to till it for me, depends on what I find when I start digging. Starting now will give me time to prep the soil and to also design and build good fencing.  We have a friendly little woodchuck as well as three rabbits living in our yard, so fencing will be the hardest challenge for me.  I am busy noodling ideas and designs to figure out the most inexpensive way to build one.  I’ve been told keeping woodchucks out of your garden is one of the hardest challenges.  We’ll see if I can be creatively successful!

This anticipation of gardening again is so exciting for me, and I am so looking forward to this adventure. There is nothing more awesome then starting your garden from seeds.  It amazes me how one little seed grows to produce so much goodness!  .

Happy Noodling, Sheryl

Noodling in Life is GOOD!

Noodling is something that I am learning to do everyday, whether it is painting, writing, drawing, cooking, creating, playing mandolin, or learning something new, noodling is becoming common for me now and I welcome it every moment I can.

What is noodling?  Noodling for me is letting my mind, eyes, ears, and hands experiment, ponder, create, imagine, engage, and joyfully achieve heartfelt bliss with minimal expectation of outcome.  I guess you could say it is being in the moment and letting my creativity, ideas and inspirations spontaneously come to life.  Sometimes noodles turn out fantastic, sometimes not, but it is the time spent noodling that is important to me.  It blesses me with peace in the midst of a crazy insane life.

This Blog is one of my new noodles, a learning challenge and outlet that really excites me!  I am so looking forward with anticipation of sharing my noodles, hoping to inspire other to noodle too.  Please feel free to share your inspirations, ideas, comments and of course your noodles!   I would love to learn what others are doing with moments of creative bliss or just moments of spontaneous opportunities.

If we can all learn to noodle through our journey, it is truly a fulfilling and joyful way to live life don’t you think? We all deserve moments of joy, creativity and inspiration!

Happy Noodling,

Sheryl