I haven’t posted a gardening update in a while, and we have had some interesting challenges lately! We had finally gotten our new raised vegetable beds finished, and I finally got lots of delicious summer vegetables (and some watermelon) growing. Then one morning I came out and found this:
Sure, it looks okay in the first picture (since the watermelon vines were mostly untouched). As I came around to the other two beds, I saw that an animal had dug up and demolished everything else. All of my beautiful tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, etc. Everything was gone in one night. I literally cried my eyes out. When our son woke up and came outside with me, he walked over to look for some cherry tomatoes, like he had been doing every day for the months prior. When he saw that everything was gone, he started crying and screaming at me. It was a very sad day.
Thankfully, we were still able to harvest all of the watermelons that I planted.
We even were able to harvest a few watermelons that I didn’t plant but snuck into the flower garden (as a result of seeds in my homemade compost).
We had some other interesting things grow out of the compost in the flower garden too, besides the watermelon and my giant squashes that I entered in the fair over the summer. We got this odd cucumber/melon hybrid thing growing. Apparently, plants can hybridize themselves in a compost bin! I know technically I should be upset and concerned that our compost is not heating up to the proper temperature now that we no longer have any lawn clippings to add in, but this was such a cool perk!
It tasted like a large cucumber, with a bit of honeydew sweetness. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever accidentally made! I saved the seeds and I’m hoping I can make more next season. 🙂
We also discovered that one of the previous owners here planted an Asian pear tree! We have this one small little tree that I always suspected was a fruit tree, but the garden expert we hired for a consult when we moved here told us it was not a fruit tree. She also told us that our apricot tree was not a fruit tree. 🙂 Turns out that each of those trees just needed a bit more love (and watering and feeding), and they are capable of producing fruit!
We came to the conclusion that it must have been raccoons digging up the vegetable beds. Our next door neighbors were having problems with the raccoon family digging up their sod, looking for grubs to eat. My husband built this giant cage around the vegetable bed area so we can keep our food safe from future invasions. It was so much work, and has taken him such a long time to build. It still needs some finishing touches (like paint in some areas), but it is functional now, which is so exciting. 🙂
We have three large raised beds in this area, and I lined up a bunch of old drawers along the brick wall. In the drawers, I put more raised bed soil, and planted all of my spring bulbs. This is my cutting garden area for floral arrangements, and I definitely don’t want those bulbs getting dug up either. I can’t wait to see the drawers in the spring…there will be a whole line of pretty flowers along the side of our vegetable garden!
Our son and I planted lots of veggies once my husband finished building the cage (you can see some of the planting in action on my photography blog here). We planted lots of cool season veggies, and a few warm season veggies too since it has not been too cold here lately. In one bed, we planted tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, and asparagus. If it actually starts to get colder here consistently, I will move those to the greenhouse. In the other beds, we planted traditional cool season vegetables. We had an unusually warm autumn, with some days even reaching the mid to high 90’s, and I am hoping we won’t have too many more of those days now that we are heading into winter. In the other beds, we planted peas, beans, radishes, carrots, beets, lettuces, kale, spinach, cabbage, onions, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery. Some we purchased as starters and some we started from seed. We have had a lot of rain lately which is great, and most of our seedlings are starting to sprout! So exciting. 🙂
We have another large raised bed in our downstairs garden, so that one needed its own cage. My husband wanted to tie it together to the cage upstairs. My dad came and helped him put together the frame for this one, so that helped a lot.
There are still two more small raised beds that do not have a completed cage, but I told my husband I don’t need them right now, and that he should take a break for a few weeks. 🙂 He has worked hard on all of this and deserves a break! We can’t wait to start harvesting some fresh veggies again!