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We’ve always done it this way… or not.

This year has been the Year of the Pudgy Squirrels, but it has also been the Year of the Bunny. Oh, do we have bunnies. And they are extremely fast on their little furry feets, too. I set out kohlrabi, cauliflower and broccoli plants and snip, snip.

Gone.

And your Aunt Toby kicked herself round the electronic block because when I set them out, that little internal gardener’s voice said sternly, “Now, you’d better cover these up to keep the little white cabbage butterflies off them and hide them from the bunnies.” And it was late in the day so I said, like Scarlet O’Hara, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

And the bunnies scheduled their visit before I could get to it.

Sigh.

So, I needed more plants and you know what it is like trying to find vegetable plants in June. (cue sound effects noise of raspberry) So, I picked up some seeds at the garden center (hey, no time to order over the internet and I was a desperate woman) and put in rows which I will thin later. I also picked up a packet of mixed lettuces and a packet of Japanese greens (last packet of each, I’d like to add) and I mixed those up and I set half of those out in rows as well.

And, as you can see from the picture at the top, I covered them with spun polyester row cover. Oh, what a good girl am I.

Now, row cover fabric comes in all sorts of weights – this is pretty lightweight but it does have one really important characteristic: Unless it is wet, it is opaque. And this is something we noticed long ago: With bunnies, if they can’t see it (and perhaps even if they can’t smell it), whatever is growing under it might as well be invisible. I just make the cover big enough to give the plants some growing room and tack it down with rocks and..

Wa-la, as we say here at Chez Siberia – no bunny nibbles. At least for now.

But if you look at that photo closely, that dirt looks pretty dry and it is. It’s been very dry and very warm for the past couple of weeks and if we don’t get rain (which we are slated to get next week), I’ll have to ask the blessed DH to connect the hose to the sump pump in the basement, run it out the basement window and have the pump (which due to our location at the bottom of a hill, runs pretty much all the time) water the garden.

OR, I can do a bit of creative ‘root watering’ using more of these items.

What this is, is a half-gallon plastic milk jug with the bottom cut off and the open end jammed into the ground between three tomato plants out in the garden. Tomatoes suffer greatly if they get water stressed (blossom end rot, cat facing and all of that), but I do not like to water from the top and we don’t have one of those systems that snakes through the garden to water at ground level. With the way things are going this summer, I think I’ll gather up more of these jugs and put them in all the areas so that I can get water down to the roots.

Now, I’ve seen some set ups (which were actually just for tomatoes, but I’m sure they would work for things like cucumbers and other things with runners that are not too heavy) where gardeners have devised a tube of some sort of strong wire – like hog wire– held up with two stout sticks (like a couple of 2x2s). Then, they insert a length of pvc pipe that they’ve drilled holes into, in the center of the wire tube, that goes down a foot into the soil. Then, they fill the wire cylinder with compost (these folks must have an amazing amount of compost to do this, actually but still), and then they plant three tomato plants around the outside of the wire cylinder and train them to the hog wire. To water, they just stick a hose into the pipe. The water goes both down into the soil and out into the compost and gives the plants a ‘compost tea’ drink as well. I’ve heard that it’s quite effective and certainly from a ‘keeping the tomato leaves dry top prevent blight’ aspect, this seems like a decent idea.

A lot of prep… but a decent idea.

In other garden news, I took a peek at the apple tree in the garden and we’ve got some apples growing, so we did not lose them in the late frost. yay sheets over the tree!
Now, there are four in this clump. Right after I took this photo, the little one at the top just dropped off of its own accord and we will probably lose one more out of the four. Now, commercial orchards don’t have the people power to go through the trees one by one and thin the baby apples out (yes, they have to do that so that they get apples of good size which is what consumers want), so they use chemicals to make the trees drop the weakest apples off, but we only have one apple tree so I can go through and pick off the smallest developing fruit so that we get some decent apples.

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