Critter attack

covered-gardenarmadillo-hole

Getting close to the last set of plantings for the winter garden. Another small potato patch, a couple dozen onions, 8 more Jersey Wakefield cabbages – those turned out to be the hit of the season-, 4 exotic cauliflowers, maybe 3 dozen lettuce plants and that’s it. I’m also going to plant – by special request – some Kale. I don’t like kale but Nancy does and my neighbor told me how delicious his wife’s Portuguese kale soup is. So why not. By the middle of next month the garden will be at it’s peak and a month after, that transitioning over to the summer stuff. In fact, I’ve already started 4 tomato plants and 2 green peppers with plans to get those in extra, extra early. I bought six of those walls of water plant protectors which I used successfully in Utah and plan to be eating tomatoes going into May this year. They are supposed to offer protection down to 24 degrees which is much lower than we would expect to see plus they would be under the frost covers so I’m quite confident the early start will be successful.

Have the garden covered again, ready for a 4 day cold weather event. The one that wiped out so much of the south is dipping into Florida but it’s not sounding as cold as last month’s freeze. I redid all of the problem areas with my PVC support structures and this time the covers went on with very little effort – took my neighbor and I about 5 minutes from start to finish with 2 layers. I also decided to put the covers on a day early while the wind was not a factor. In parts, the covers are starting to look fairly well worn so I’ll be lucky to get another season out of them. I’m going to try to use them in the spring for insect protection, at least for a month or so. If I decide to do that, I’ll be cutting up the 30×50‘ covers into 6‘ x 50‘ strip covers for individual row covers and then buy new large pieces for next winter. If I had thought about the PVC structures from the get go, they would be in much better shape today.

The other picture shows the scene I found in the garden yesterday morning. I’m fairly sure it was the work of an armadillo digging for ants. I had prepared the ground in front of the wire trellis to plant peas and had already put in some lettuce plants about 18” out from the trellis. If you look very closely you can see little bits of green running parallel to the trellis. Luckily the critter managed to dig without disturbing even one lettuce plant and before I had put in any pea seeds so the damage was zero. Sort of a natural tilling job. If he had dug on the other side of the trellis I would have been really bummed because that side was planted – peas and carrots – earlier in the week. To calibrate you, that hole is about 2′ deep.

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