Pest control

A week ago, we came home from the theater to find five deer in the front yard, eyeing the buffet (our front garden), or perhaps were between courses. I angrily chased after them, and chased a bit more for good measure.
The next morning I inspected the damage and was relieved to find it wasn’t too bad. The biggest was to some asters near the house that I now wonder whether will bloom this fall. They might have had a bit more of the azalea, and perhaps some daisies and zinnias. So far, at least, those “deer-resistant” plants we favor seem to be living up to their reputation.
Battling the deer is a constant. Not only do we abut preserved woodland, but the deer population in New Jersey is supposed to be seven times that of colonial times (though how anyone did a census then is beyond me). Deer generally stay within a mile of where they were born, and in our area, they have no natural predators (or even hunters). They are so at home that they don’t run off in fear. They prefer to stare. And feast.
Remember those tomatoes I was so excited about at the beginning of the month? Munched. (The plants in pots aren’t protected by netting. Still. If it happens again, blame me for being too lazy and caring more about the 20 or so that are in raised beds surrounded by netting.)
Deer aren’t our only animal nuisance. Something has eaten most of the beans and munched a bit on the peas. The netting was up, and there is no way a deer could have ducked its head under it. So I am thinking rabbit — perhaps the same one that I suspect of having eaten a lot of calendula (flower) seedlings?
I was so angry that I have bought smelly pellets made of dried blood, eggs and other things that are supposed to deter such pests. Apparently the smell of this getting up their nostrils is enough to send them away. Hopefully our rainy season is finally over and this can stay on the ground long enough to train them to stay away.

Hello world!

Welcome to our blog! This hopefully will be a written and visual journal of our central New Jersey/zone six garden.

It is our fourth year playing with the soil, and we have gone from three raised beds to four, and this year will probably be five. We tried the Square Foot Gardening method last year with decent success (and half the time it didn’t work well was probably because I was lazy). The flowers in the front have slept, crept and leapt. Many have been split and others will be split this spring — a good thing as we seem to bump out the beds every fall. This year I think I’ll concentrate on filling in the middle section to overflowing.

We back onto preserved woodland, so deer are a problem. So much for tulips. We also have a groundhog living under our deck, much to my annoyance. I wish both types of animals would eat weeds and leave everything else alone. Somehow the deer haven’t gone for our hostas, planted by the previous owner. Hopefully it will stay that way. But I think the azalea we bought in the fall may have a rougher time.

And then there is this one black squirrel I caught in the strawberry bed with a half-eaten unripe strawberry in his mouth in 2008. I bet he’s the one who ate all those berries I was letting ripen for just a couple more days before picking! The ones we did eat were so delicious that I swore off supermarket berries (not that those are very good anyway).