Chronicles of a Noob Garden and Gardener

Ben E Lou

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Thanks for checking in, glad you are still gardening! Got any new pictures? LOL
From two days ago: my 8yo showing one of the next-door neighbors’ kids the tiny strawberries coming in. I thought this was just precious.
 

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Ben E Lou

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Other updates...

I did end up hiring pest control in 2020. All of the references to “the groundhog” in this thread were woefully understated. Over the course of about 8 weeks, SIX groundhogs met their doom in the jaws of the conibears placed under the shed. I found the main entrance and covered it; it was actually in the other side of my back fence. The covering is undisturbed, so I’m thinking we got them all and no new ones have moved in. Crossing fingers.

In general, I expect the critters to be greatly reduced this year. We now have a lab and our neighbors on the garden side of the yard now have a Vizsla. Both dogs spend a good bit of time in their respective back yards, so I’d imagine they’ll be helpful on that front.

2020’s garden wasn’t as good as 2019. We had a freeze on flipping MOTHER’S DAY. (Our average last *frost* is April 15th-ish. I think our average last freeze is around the 8th.) That freeze really set most of my stuff back. Squash and zucchini succumbed to vine borers before they could really even get started after the freeze slowed them down tremendously. On the positive side, we had a monster tomato harvest; my wife learned to make killer fried green tomatoes, and we’re still eating 2020 frozen tomatoes. Also I got into making cut flower bouquets for my wife in 2020. (See pics.) Mostly zinnias and sunflowers. Trying some new ones this year.

This year has been pretty good so far. Bought a larger (walk-in) greenhouse. Started tomatoes too early so I was forced to put them in the ground in early April due to running out of space for them in the greenhouse. Possible frost Wednesday night. I have plenty of material to cover, but definitely a pain.
 

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baymule

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SIX ground hogs in a small lot in a neighborhood? :barnie P have no experience with ground hogs and they sound like something that I am not missing out on. Wow, that's a LOT of ground hogs.

How thoughtful to make such lovely flower arrangements for your wife. They are beautiful.

It is heart warming to watch your own children sharing and teaching their own garden lore to another child. That shows that you are doing something right. We took our two little granddaughters (ages 4 and 6) strawberry picking last weekend. Like dummies, we picked 25 pounds and had a lot of washing, hulling, cutting and freezing to do. But I am sure that we'll forget all of that when we eat them. Plus we gorged on strawberries for several days and sent two 1 gallon bags home with the girls.
 

Ben E Lou

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SIX ground hogs in a small lot in a neighborhood? :barnie P have no experience with ground hogs and they sound like something that I am not missing out on. Wow, that's a LOT of ground hogs.

How thoughtful to make such lovely flower arrangements for your wife. They are beautiful.

It is heart warming to watch your own children sharing and teaching their own garden lore to another child. That shows that you are doing something right. We took our two little granddaughters (ages 4 and 6) strawberry picking last weekend. Like dummies, we picked 25 pounds and had a lot of washing, hulling, cutting and freezing to do. But I am sure that we'll forget all of that when we eat them. Plus we gorged on strawberries for several days and sent two 1 gallon bags home with the girls.
The crazy thing is this: behind my house is the maintenance area to the golf course, and then the golf course itself. Asphalt parking lot, four or five buildings, cars and trucks in and out starting at 6am every day. There's only maybe 20-30 feet of trees and brush between my the fenceline near the back of my property and the asphalt parking lot of that area. The groundhogs made their den in that little space. It really seems like a fluke that they found their way there, and I'm hopeful that because it's such a small and undesirable area--in a part of town where there ARE plenty of much larger wooded/undeveloped areas for them to enjoy--there won't be another family of 'em moving in there. And again, the fact that my neighbor and I both now have young dogs roaming the adjacent fenced yards frequently should help discourage any others. It was AWFUL. They destroyed nearly all of my sunflowers in 2020, and ate much of my zucchini and squash plants' leaves even before the squash vine borers could come and finish the job.

Yes, my wife loves the flowers. Easy way to help redeem all the time and money I spend on the garden. ;)

Yeah, the 8yo is a frequent garden helper. Not as much these days the 12yo, but she does still come out from time to time.

So, it's gonna be 45 tonight, but then 53 or higher is forecast for every night the next 2 weeks. I have time today to put just about everything in the ground, and we're going to be out of town next weekend, so it seems to make sense to get it down and just deal with one sub-optimal night.
 

baymule

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We have a 13 year old granddaughter. I understand on the 12 year old. LOL She used to be all about the chickens, now doesn’t even give them a glance. Or much of anything else for that matter.

My Dad was an avid gardener, when I hit the teenage years, I fell away. But as an adult, all that my Dad taught me, came right back. I say this because your daughter might not care now, but somewhere in her adult life, she might remember what Dad taught her.

That was an unlikely place for a ground hog family. Hopefully no more will move in. Have a great garden season!
 

Ben E Lou

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So today I was outside picking some lettuce leaves for a salad to have with lunch. In the last few days, there have been signs that maybe I had a rabbit or perhaps another groundhog. Small amounts eaten from my cabbage, but no other plants damaged, and not much eaten. And there was a very small hole coming from under the storage shed that I noticed when I went out to harvest the lettuce. I was thinking it was too small for a groundhog, but put a brick over it, (which easily covered it, to give you an idea of how small it was,) just in case. Well, while picking my lettuce, no more than 30 feet from the storage shed, I glanced over and noticed that the brick had been moved that I had just put there. Then I noticed motion. Not one, not two, but three freaking baby groundhogs were playing around the storage shed. They were around the size of squirrels. One has already met her demise, two to go. And I suppose there’s a parent lurking about somewhere. But I did a very careful inspection, and there’s simply nowhere that an adult groundhog could’ve dug under our fence or come from underneath the shed. No spaces that large exist.

Anyway, here is a pic I took of the lettuce. It’s doing GREAT! We’ve probably had a dozen large salads from these guys.
A116AF2C-A197-43FF-9887-29AB76827132.jpeg


And the strawberries. All the strawberries. We’ve had a great harvest of those already from the small 4x4 bed, and the big bed is just about to get started in maybe another week or so.

011CD9A3-90AD-4014-B847-9403D9CBEAED.jpeg


Also, I have had so much basil growing in the greenhouse with the cool spring we are experiencing that I needed to go ahead and prune it. Didn’t realize that I had enough to make 3 cups of pesto, so that was nice.
Everything is doing pretty well. Cool-weather stuff is hanging on longer than expected without bolting with the cooler Spring. The forecast is calling for four nights in the 40s the rest of this week, and no highs above 75 again until the latter half of next week. That’s really cool for mid May here.
 
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Ben E Lou

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You have Ground Hog Grand Central Station going on in your back yard! Crazy!
I really don’t get it. There are SOOOOOO many better-protected places for them in our general area besides the narrow strip of wooded land on the other side of our fence. Makes me wonder if they’re just vastly overpopulated in our vicinity due to lack of predators or something like that. Also weird that there’s no sign of any adult groundhogs in the area. (I mean, other than the existence of at least three juveniles…)
 

AMKuska

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That lettuce is beautiful! I wish mine were looking that good. They're just babies though.
 
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