The Garden Got Eaten

Yeah, not Eden, eaten. By our resident woodchucks and probably some deer. *sigh* I think I need to give the whole back story. I’m new to gardening. My mom’s a master gardener, but I’d never dived into the world of veggie gardening on my own until this year. This is what it looked like when we started out:

We started out with this little raised bed made of old bricks we found by the garage.

In this little bed I planted two rows of heirloom lettuce – one butter, one red, a row of radishes, and a row of leeks.

I think these are radish sprouts, but don't quote me. They might be lettuce.

This was my first real foray into gardening and it was pretty darn exciting. And easy! Except for the red lettuce, which never came up for some reason.

The first growth - the butter lettuce and radishes.

We picked a place that got plenty of sun and we’d had enough rain that I didn’t really need to water. And weed pulling was not too hard at first.

Then the leeks started to come up.

Things started to get really lush. But I learned a lesson – don’t plant things you don’t love to eat – like lettuce. I didn’t harvest any of this gorgeous stuff. And I was still waiting on those radishes.

More growth! Lettuce was going strong at this point, but the radishes hadn't really formed yet.

But alas, they were still itty bitty. It is hard to be a patient gardener, sometimes!

I was so excited for these radishes. Look at that red!

Now let’s fast-forward from late May to the present-day. The leeks are coming along nicely. Hoping they’ll be nice and fat by fall.

The leeks as of the second week of July.

Alas, the rest of the garden did not fare so well.

What's left of the radishes after getting nommed by woodchucks.

Apparently a foot high brick wall is not enough to keep woodchucks out. And man oh man do they like radish greens. And lettuce.

This is all the farther the radishes got.

The lettuce was not such a big loss, but the radishes! I didn’t get to eat a single one…

Alas, only the leeks have survived thus far.

Only the leeks are left. Presumably since woodchucks and deer don’t like oniony-tasting things. Or they would have eaten all the wild chives we had in our yard this past spring.

And yes, the plastic cutlery is there on purpose. It was my attempt to keep the woodchucks out. I got the idea from a blogger who used plastic forks to keep her cats from using her garden as a litter box. Alas, I didn’t have enough plastic forks and apparently the knives are far less effective.

We also planted a second raised bed in the front yard. It is made out of an old steel tractor wheel. I planted zucchini, green beans, purple basil, dill, and a few ping-pong carrots (they are round like radishes, only they are carrots). Alas, I have no “before” pictures. But this is all that is left of a bed that was chock full of leafy green goodness:

Pretty decimated, huh?

The woodchucks were nibbling on the green beans all along, but not enough to do too much damage. The dill and carrots totally failed – too much shade from the giant zucchini leaves, I think. But there is one teeny little basil plant.

Of course, once the beans got all leggy and full of little flowers and the zucchini put out gorgeous yellow blooms – a freaking herd of deer must have come through our yard and devoured everything down to stubs in one night. I was so mad.

The lone zucchini that has managed to survive. I need to harvest it soon before it gets too big.

I was really effing mad because I really, REALLY love green beans. Seriously. Almost as much as I love sugar snap peas.

Two of perhaps six surviving green beans.

*sigh* They’re so cute! I still keep hoping that some flowers survived and a few more will pop up. These were supposed to be “Provider” bush beans, after all.

The biggest green bean left.

Okay. Moral of the story? Yeah – FENCES. Chad swears the only thing that will work is an electric fence, but I just need to invest in some wire mesh and some netting.

Other moral of the story? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This fall we’re going to build a bigger bed (so I can plant much, much more) and fence it somehow. The little brick bed will come down and big wooden ones will go in (or rather, just one to begin with). Next year I’m doing zucchini, green beans, onions, basil, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, oodles of radishes, dill, cucumbers, broccoli, and maybe some lettuce (maybe).

They say you can only learn by doing. And my mom definitely said that was true of gardening. Now I know what she means! It’s not as hard as I thought, but next year is going to take a little more thought. I might even try planting both spring and fall crops. Like oooh! Parsnips. And I forgot collards/kale! How could I forget kale?

Readers – do you have garden pests? Mess up a planting? Bite off more than you could chew? I vote that since I aired my gardening errors in public, we have a “most embarrassing gardening moments” catharsis in the comments section. Yes?

5 Responses to “The Garden Got Eaten”
  1. That is a stunning photojournal of nature’s cruelty. I am so sympathetic. I don’t grow many veggies at home because of the herds of woodchucks, but in the community vegetable garden we have a good fence and so far, knock on woodchuck, I haven’t had major critter problems there.

    • vintagejenta says:

      Ha! Yes. It was even more sad because everything was doing so well! *sigh* Seriously. Fences next year. And maybe a 22. Although I’ve read that 20lb monofilament fishing wire will keep deer out because they can’t see it and they get freaked out when they run into it. So I might try that too.

      At least I’m getting some wild raspberries!

  2. lisa says:

    One thing that seems to work in my garden is Dried blood and garlic powder. The woodchucks stay far away and it is organic. Also I put little bars of hotel soap in the sides of the garden too.

    Good luck next time!

  3. Mrs C says:

    Did you use “landscape block adhesive” when you stacked your bricks or did you just stack them & then fill w/soil?

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