Securing the Borders
Since the utter decimation of our broccoli plants (all 32 of them), we have also experienced some friendly fire:
The chickens got into the Brussels sprouts again. Time to get serious about protecting our food.
With some more stakes inherited from the move into this house and some more rolls of chicken wire from the hardware store, we added a big cage around the Brussels sprouts patch. That will definitely keep out the chickens, and hopefully whatever else has been munching on our brassica. So far it's working on the cabbages pretty well.
As you may recall, the Brussels sprouts aren't doing terribly well in that shady spot anyway, so we also decided to cut our losses there and sow more lettuces between the rows of Brussels sprouts. If we get a few Brussels sprouts there, great; if not, we are hoping that we can eke some summer lettuce out of that shady spot, since many of ours have either been eaten or have bolted past the point of being edible (although some of the less bitter ones are still okay with a sweeter salad dressing).
Anyway, Brussels sprouts have been resown in a square from which we recently harvested garlic:
Soil was amended with some fertilizer and compost, fencing was erected, and if all goes well this sunnier spot will bring us 20 Brussels sprouts stalks for the fall.
Another part of our plant relocation program: flat leaf parsley. This had also been chewed down by some animal last week, but of greater concern is how yellow and dried most of the leaves had turned in the heat of last week. The curley parsley gets a bit more afternoon shade and is doing fine, so we figured we'd cut off the dead parts and try moving this into a shadier spot:
I took this picture during the sunny few hours, but typically this area is much shadier. Hopefully between the shade, the rain, and the fertilizer it will bounce back. You can also see our sorrel to the lower right, which we moved to this shady spot after the leaves were burnt back in the sun earlier in the season. The chickens chewed that down, too, but we are hoping it will do well enough to overwinter and be ready for harvesting next spring.
Finally, Kirk used some smaller bits of leftover hardware cloth and chicken wire to make some more serious walls around our sunflower seedlings:
The chipmunks still managed to pull out a few seedlings over the tops of the shorter pots (although the tall Solo cups seemed to work well). The seedlings were left uneaten on the ground, presumably a disappointment after they discovered there weren't actually seeds attached any more. Jerks.
So a few of these cups have yet ANOTHER seed planted in them, and a cage around them. This is the very last chance I'm giving to sunflowers this year.
Did I mention that the squirrels have managed to eat through some of our netting bags on the peaches? I'm not sure we'll end up with any — it's a long way to go before they would ripen.
My last animal-proofing chore yesterday? Emailing local animal shelters for information about adopting a barn cat.