Friday, March 7, 2008

Cage us in...Please

It is the beginning of March and instantly you can sense spring in the garden. Plants are growing faster, fruit trees are flowering, and the wildlife can be seen in ever increasing numbers around the property. It is for that last thing that I have spent the last week building cages for tender seedlings and other appetizing plants.

I was recently graced with a visit by a local ground squirrel who really enjoyed some sweet peas that just started bearing. The squirrel thought it was so good it ate everything I had, along with some parsley, kohlrabi, chard and more. That is not going to happen again.

This week, I have been building caged tables for seed starting as well as cages for the growing beds to house young plants until they are no longer appetizing to the local wildlife. Just the other day I seeded 15 flats of vegetables only to have them dug up by a little sparrow the minute I turned my back.

I have built my seeding tables out of old pallets and scrap wood, with concrete reinforcing mesh and chicken wire to act as the cage. This has worked well for seeding as well as for a Chicken Triage Center (more on that in a later post). The cages that are going on the beds were built out of old pvc pipe and chicken wire, making them lightweight and sturdy. I am going to experiment with a different design tomorrow. I'll let you know what works better.

The seeding tables received their first residents today with the reseeded flats of Florence Fennel, Royal Oak Lettuce, Red Deer Tongue Lettuce and Bee Balm. I will be hand watering these until I get the automatic watering system in place.

Tomorrow I hope to start a new Biointensive compost pile by the nursery. I will include my first bed of compost crops that I will chop down tomorrow into the compost along with mature material and garden soil. I will discuss compost more thoroughly at a later time. The same bed that I took the compost crops from will be the same bed that I double dig, add some compost and amendments to, and transplant lettuce and direct seed radishes into. The first bed of the season.

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