|A few fruits of our labor|
But this year things have turned out differently and we are literally enjoying the fruits of my labor. You might remember my post earlier this year (found here) telling about my spring gardening endeavors (and the battle with storms, not squirrels). There are lots of links in that post that tell about self-watering container gardening and where to buy them or how to make them using empty 5-gallon pails, plastic deli containers, and PVC pipe.
I did both. I bought one and I made a couple of more. This summer we successfully grew
- leaf lettuce
- green peppers
- sunflowers, and
- green beans
The self-watering containers (which is somewhat of a misnomer: you still must add water, just not as often) took care of the problem that I have keeping things watered during those weeks of church camp in hot July. But what about the squirrel problem? And a problem it is! I have personally witnessed them in the early morning pulling green tomatoes off the vines, tasting them, saying "yuck" (or so I assume they're saying based upon their actions), and throwing them down repeatedly until they've stripped the vines bare! In order to put a stop to such wasteful behavior I have begun covering my planters each night.
We put a wire cage around the box that holds the tomatoes and tied the plants to it with cut up nylon stockings. Each night I drape 1/4 inch mesh cicada nylon netting over the whole shebang. (My garden wears nylons more frequently during the summer than I do.) I remove the netting in the morning after Pepper starts stirring around the yard. (Any earlier and the squirrels get too brazen.)
It doesn't seem to hurt anything if I forget to take the netting off in the morning. It's only if I forget to put it on at night that things can get seriously injured!
This morning when I went out to uncover the containers there was a praying mantis on the netting covering the 5-gallon bucket of bean plants. I didn't bother him because I wanted him to stick around (get it?) and eat any aphids or other harmful insects.
Some of the green beans and the bucket can be seen in the picture below. Since I was merely experimenting this year I didn't bother to camouflage the buckets. Maybe next year I'll paint mine to make them aesthetically pleasing.