Gardening Mistakes

By Roger Erpelding
Contributing Writer

Gardening is such a dynamic process. You are always learning. And sometimes the landscape changes—literally. Our neighbor to the south cut two large limbs from a tree this spring; thus, more sun for our garden.

It seems you can never outsmart Nature, although it is fun to try. In the new raised bed on the south side of the house, with excellent soil, and plenty of sunshine, I planted lettuce, radishes and spinach among the eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, and the tomato. I had excellent germination, which is not necessarily a good thing. Not only was the germination great, but the growth rate was as well. As a result, the spring plants choked out the eggplant, which are slower growing. The tomato held its own, but you could tell the peppers didn’t like the competition. So, late last week I pulled every radish, lettuce and spinach plant. The spinach and lettuce produced a fine sack of greens. Usually these are “cut and come again” vegetables, but not this time.

So what is the solution? Succession planting. Since the raised beds are on the south side of the house, lettuce, radishes and spinach can be planted early—possibly as early as late March. We didn’t get the raised bed up until April 19, and I think it was early May before these crops got planted. And to add insult to injury, the radishes were mostly tops. Again, this may be due to the soil being too rich, and the radishes being planted too late. Better luck next year! Live and learn. As a result, I purchased four additional eggplants for this bed. I did find one of the Amadeo eggplant I purchased at the Master Gardener plant sale. The eggplant were replaced on Sunday morning.

This raised bed appears to be mistake prone. While planting the eggplant, I dug out one of the sweet banana peppers. I immediately put it back in, and gave it two gallons of water. Its chances of revival are 50-50.

The second major mistake in gardening I made this year involved my calla lilies. Keep in mind that I am very familiar with this plant. We raised them on the farm, and we moved to town in 1966. I planted them as usual, so I thought, but they weren’t coming up. Beth wanted two of the pots I planted them in for some of her flowers. I told her that if they weren’t up soon, she could have them. In fact, I wondered if the callas had rotted, were slow, or just stubborn. I dug all of them up, and guess what. I’d planted every one of them upside down. Their fibrous roots were sticking up, and their growth points were struggling way under the soil. It was a simple case of turning them all around, and covering them up. They are up now, and one of them is already blooming.

My cherry tomatoes are a little unhappy. They are probably getting too much shade, and are competing with some nearby oriental lilies. They are in pots, so competing soil for nutrients is not a problem. They are tall and lanky, but are beginning to set on fruit. So, they should be an all right crop, but not spectacular.


Weeding—When You Don’t Know, and When You Don’t Care

By Roger Erpelding
Contributing Writer

A weed is a weed is a weed—right? Well, not always. Sometimes when I don’t know, I’ll let everything coexist for a while. This is true with carrots. Their initial foliage is so fine and feathery that it is very hard to distinguish from other plants. I haven’t even looked at the carrots yet, but when I do, they should be up, as 2 months have elapsed since they were planted. I once asked my mother, who has gardened for a lot longer than I have, how to tell the weeds from the carrots when the carrots were young. “You tell me and we’ll both know.” She is sighted of course, so this tough task is not blindness related. At this stage, when in doubt, I’ll break off a tiny end of a leaf that I think might be a carrot. Its fragrance will give it away. Again, start with the obvious. Carrots are fine and ferny; anything with a large broad leaf is a weed. Some plant their carrots and radishes in the same row. The theory is that when you harvest the radishes, the carrots will have been weeded for the first time. I’ve never tried this, so I can’t judge as to its efficacy.

And what if you just plain don’t know? I have two examples of this–where either Beth and I have chosen to “live and let live.” Just west of the garden gate, along the inside of the north fence, is some kind of strange plant. It has nice soft leaves, quite delicate yellow flowers, and unique seed pods. It is probably a weed, but since this immediate area is small and vacant, it is welcome. If it begins to spread, I’ll pull out some of the plants that stray.

Near the mailbox, along the street curb, is something that I think is a weed, but we are letting it grow. It has spread quite a bit, and it has small white flowers. It somewhat resembles baby’s breath but it is not. I’d pull it all out, as it appears invasive. It is in the northwest corner of this bed, and again, it really isn’t hurting anything. In fact, it is even growing in one of the cracks in the street. One tough plant, whatever it may be. As it has approached some of my perennials, I have given it the boot. But in the meantime, I’ll let it grow for the most part.

Milkflowers, common milkweed, Asclepius syriaca, are one of my favorites. I brought seeds from my other house when I married Beth, and she placed them in her butterfly garden. She is a huge fan of monarchs and others, and of course, the milkflowers are an excellent food source for their larvae. Who cares if they eat the leaves? And like anything else that is a “weed,” they have spread beyond the butterfly garden. The ones in the lawn get mowed off. There was one growing on the north side of the bar bed last year. Much to my pleasure, it was full of flowers and those neat seed pods. This year, in the middle of the “blue bed”, among the amaryllis, is a magnificent milkflower. Can it stay? Well, it depends. If it blooms, yes; if not, it has to go. The stalk looks thick and healthy, and although I can’t tell yet, it looks like it’ll be a bloomer. The milkflowers in Beth’s butterfly garden have buds, but this sprouted late, so the jury is still out. So far, the milkflowers have not spread to the garden. If and when they do, whether or not I will keep them depends on their flowering ability, and where they grow. At the other house, I kept 10-20 of them each year.

Some of my favored plants even become invasive, and act like weeds. The sweet rockets, Hesparis matronalis, are a classic example. Their fragrant purple flowers are welcome, but they are beginning to invade some of the perennials. After they complete their bloom cycle, in about ten days or so, I’ll cut most of them down. I’ll let those go to seed in an area near the blue spruce where nothing else is growing; after all, that’s where I planted them in the first place. They are biennial, so I’ll look for new plants in the fall to keep or cull accordingly.

Continuous Weeding

By Roger Erpelding
Contributing Writer

As far as the garden is concerned, Saturday, June 8, had to be one of the most beautiful days ever. It began raining at 10:00 in the morning, and didn’t quit until after 2:00 in the afternoon. When it was all said and done, we dumped 2 inches out of the rain gauge—steady precipitation, but not a cloudburst.

By 5:00 the sun was out, so it gave us a chance to check on some of the things in the raised beds. We didn’t dare walk in the flower beds or garden. Just another advantage to raised beds, which I have come to love more and more as my garden experience broadens.

I have been coveting another raised garden, similar to the ones Beth and I have on the south side of the house. I had a great idea, and later in the weekend, Beth presented this idea as well. Right on the southwest corner of the house is an ugly cedar bush. I have wanted to have it removed for years. Beth recommended that we call Steve, who we use for our landscaping work when needed—not only to have the bush uprooted and taken away, but soil and rock hauled in to make this area level with the current raised beds. Needless to say, I burned a path to the phone, and Steve has been contacted! Now we just need to wait for this raised bed to go on sale as it did last year, and order up. And even better, Beth said this bed is all mine—I don’t need to share. Since there is no such thing as a free lunch, Beth is ordering another bench which she will put somewhere on the property; of course, I will assist in putting it together and carrying it to her favored place. What a blessing to be married to a fellow Master Gardener!

The rain resulted in a foggy night on Saturday and a damp Sunday morning. This delayed my plans to finish weeding the west perennial bed, but I got it done late in the morning. Again, since these are mostly established plants, this was an easy task. There were the obvious weeds, and those always go out first—grass, for example. By their leaf feel and growth habit, I found the coreopsis, the painted daisy, the delphinium, the Arkansas blue star amsonia, daylilies, the gas plant, an old lilac, and various oriental lilies. Since I knew these were desired plants, anything around them, for the most part, were weeds. These included more of those old bushes that seem to never die, some kinds of weeds I didn’t identify, a couple of black walnut trees, and some bindweed which Beth calls “the twisty weeds from Hell.” The bindweeds are so obvious that I pull them without a thought. They were already over a foot tall, and were attaching themselves to any nearby plant.

Sometimes flowers get in a way, and they get pulled as well. A Jack Frost brunnera has seeded itself near the row of daylilies. It is out of the way and I just allow it to remain. Later, while weeding one of the raised beds, an unidentified plant appeared. Is it a weed, or not? Since all things in this bed are bulbs or tubers—glads, calla lilies, and amaryllis, I first dug up a little soil to test for a protuberance. Finding none, I sniffed one of the leaves which I broke off. It was a rather pungent and unpleasant smell. Out it unceremoniously went—roots and all.

Now that the perennial bed has been weeded, it is mulch time. Last autumn, Beth and I collected several bags of leaves through mowing and raking. They are sitting under the awnings around the house and it is time for them to go. So, on Tuesday night I began to fill in the bare areas in the perennial bed. This gave me a second chance to take care of any weeds I missed. Part of the area has nice rows and will be easy. Part of the area, such as around the woodland poppies and oriental lilies, have filled in, and I’ll have to mulch by the handful, and be careful. Other plants are small, such as the lung wort (pulmonaria) and could easily be buried in a pile of leaves. Some plants get stepped on, such as the Virginia bluebells, daffodils, and lily-of-the-valley. These plants are expendable, as for the most part they are dying anyway. In the case of the lily-of-the-valley, they are very forgiving. I have a “step plan” before I enter the garden with the mulch bags. Tonight my plan is to get 4 more bags of mulch emptied and spread. I will start on the south end, and work my way northward, along the east side of this bed. Just to the east of this bed are rows of brassicas—broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. If mulched at all, it will be only lightly. North of these plants is a walkway between a blue spruce and a Korean lilac. This will be easy mulching, and I’ll save this until last.

The soil is drying out and, if it does not rain, my next task will be to weed the green beans, followed by the potatoes. I also want to harvest radishes, spinach and lettuce this weekend, so I’ll multi-task and weed while picking.

More Weeding and More Planting

By Roger Erpelding
Contributing Writer

I am in the old perennial bed on the west side of the garden. In this area, weeding is a pretty simple task. For the most part, the perennials I am weeding now have been there for a while, and are well established. I began in the northwest corner, where the Virginia bluebells are dying. If I step on them, no big deal. I just have more space to weed. The fern leaf peony is in a white tile, and I can tell by its leaves that it belongs there. To my left is a long established daylily, and just to the south of it, an oriental poppy. The poppy has long rosette leaves like a dandelion, but they are fuzzier. In addition to this, there are two flower buds standing up, which should open any day. And next is a mystery plant. It has leaves similar to cotton, and it’ll have small yellow flowers. I purchased it at Heirloom Gardens years ago, but I have lost the tag.

As I sweep further south, I find some shade loving plants. Lungwort is the newest one. It has slender and very fuzzy leaves. In addition to this, it has a fresh tag, and no mulch around it. A few Shasta daisies and a few sprouts of black-eyed Susans are also in this area. Years of experience and growth habit allow me to identify these plants.

Also in this area is a group of oriental lilies. They are upright, and are already a couple of feet tall. No weeds here. There are some wild violets in this area, and since I don’t want them, I pull them out. I also encounter a couple of shrubs that are growing as well. After Beth and I got married in 2004, we spent many weekend mornings that summer cutting out and grubbing out these bushes. Will they ever really die? They get cut off at the ground, and I’ll be persistent in keeping them out of the perennial bed.

My next landmark as I proceed south is the down spout. I soon find it, and some other interesting things. The Jack Frost brunnera is doing well—perhaps too well. Its broad fuzzy leaves and upright stems with feathery flowers gives it away. Further north and east, one of them has arrived amongst the daylilies; it is harmless where it is at, so I let it alone. To my great joy, I also find some woodland poppies. They have already bloomed, and their seed pods are what give them away as plants which will be allowed. They have seeded into this area from further south—more power to them. They have an upright growth habit. Their seed pods will soon “pop” as the seeds ripen and are dispersed.

I proceed east along the drain pipe until it ends. Just south of its east end, I stop by to see how my Baptisia is doing. I find two bloom stalks. They have clusters of pea-like flowers. Since they are a legume, this identifying trait is all I need. They now have thick stalks, so they must be established, right? Winter dieback has hurt it some, but it is recovering nicely.

I am now heading north and east, working toward the north fence in the central part of the perennial bed. A row of daylilies is my guide to weed this section. Dandelions, violets, and those old shrubs are done away with. Just west of the daylilies are camassia, which have completed their bloom. They will soon die, but their upright bloom stalks are still prominent. Their lily-like leaves are a little narrower than a daffodil.

Crawling northward, I find an iris in bloom. This is a new cultivar, but the tag is meaningless. What color is it, anyway? I pluck off a flower, and place it near the air conditioner so I won’t forget it. Beth tells me later it is mainly white, with purple edges. Its fragrance is faint. It will not go down as one of my favorites, but since Beth described is as “beautiful” may it do well in subsequent years!

And here’s the north fence. My weeding is almost done. But first I need time-out to admire my Ito peony. This is a cross between the traditional bush peony, and a tree peony. This cultivar is bright yellow, fragrant, and in full bloom. Time to “stop and smell the peonies.” Between this and the fence is a row of pots with cherry tomatoes and their accompanying tomato cages. As cherry tomatoes do, they are getting tall and lanky, but they are healthy. I check the cannas along the fence just west of the tomatoes, and they are doing fine as well.

Time to get out of the garden. I proceed east along the fence to the north gate. I find an iris, and it’ll bloom soon. Next are the group of sweet rockets. Their purple flowers are fragrant and welcome. However, they are taking over, so after their bloom is complete, I will cut them to the ground—probably in late June. Despite this fact, they will continue to grow and perhaps dominate. This plant has slender and fuzzy leaves as well. They are biennial, and I encounter a few first year plants as well.

There is still no sign of my hardy hibiscus. They are very late in arriving, so I am not in despair. After the hard winter, they may not appear again. If this is the case, the sweet rockets may get a little longer reprieve.

Along comes the gate, and lots of grass. All grass is pulled in the garden. It is easily identified, and since it rained almost 2 inches earlier in the week, easy to pull as well.

Here it is June 6, and I am still planting! Last Friday Beth brought home a fine-looking Shasta daisy from Earl May. We stopped there Saturday morning, and I purchased my own daisy, and two coreopsis. I couldn’t pass up the Jethro Tull cultivar, even though it is past its prime. Another coreopsis cultivar, Mercury Rising, looked nice. Sunday evening I planted all three near the mailbox, with thunder in the west. The 0.7 inches of rain that came that night was a welcome site.

Our new puppy thought it might like basil, so it stripped two plants in my herb garden. Beth bought two replacements, and they were planted on Wednesday night.

One of my sweet banana peppers has died as well. I know that at one point they were extremely dry, and I watered them just in time. Perhaps I missed this one. I purchased 4 jabanero peppers. One will go in the pot, and the other 3 will be planted just north of the green beans along a fence. They are in the water bath as I write, and I’ll plant them tonight.

And what happens when you don’t know if you have a plant or a weed? I’ll discuss that in the next blog.

The Weeding Begins

By Roger Erpelding
Contributing Writer

We are on the Windsor Heights garden tour on June 29, so Beth and I will be doing some intensive weeding over the next month. My most frequently asked question is “how do you tell the flowers and vegetables from the weeds?” Over the next few blogs, I’ll emphasize how this is done.

Keep in mind that I have been gardening as a blind person for over 55 years. In pre-school, Mom taught me many flowers and vegetable plant identifications, which have stayed with me to this very day.

Sometimes it is just plain easy—everything is a weed! And so I began. I walked down the street to the southwest corner of our property, and started east. The property line is differentiated by railroad ties, concrete blocks, and fences as you proceed eastward to the south east corner. I am weeding the border, south of these dividing features. The first to be weeded is the border along the south edge, with rocky areas north of the ties. Along the border, and in the rocks, everything growing is a weed, without exception. There are some shrubs in this area, but you aren’t going to pull them out, even if you wanted to. I find mostly taller grass along the border, which goes into a weed bag, later to be placed in a recycling sack for pick up later in the week.

Along the south side of our property, on the south side of the house, there is a different set of criteria for weeding. As I crawl along the border, I encounter a set of concrete blocks, and on the top of them, there are hosta. These plants have been there for years, and are taller than any weeds growing around them. They have long and rather slender leaves. The leaf veins are parallel, and most weeds are broadleaf or netted in their leaf vein habit. Just east of the hostas railroad ties resume, and I find a lot of ivy vines. I just leave them be, unless they are spreading south along the railroad ties; in that event, they land in the weed bag, even though they are not strictly weeds.

As I proceed east, I find a few perennials growing up the hill on the ties. These include lily-of-the-valley, phlox, and Centaurea (perennial bachelor buttons.) Again with the lilies, their parallel leaf vein habit gives them away. Their leaves are longer than wide, and grow straight up without any droop. The Centaurea are fuzzy. I have been dealing with phlox for over 50 years, so their leaf habit is a matter of experience. And among all of these flowers you’ll find grass. All grass goes into the weed bag. My only danger here is poison ivy, which I won’t know I’m in it until I’ve touched it. However, it has been a couple of days since I’ve weeded this area, and it appears I’ve dodged the bullet—this time, anyway.

Now I am at the southeast corner of the house, still proceeding east. Here are my two hosta cultivars that the deer haven’t eaten—yet, anyway. I use the same criteria as mentioned earlier, and pull out the grass around them. This is also the area where old hyacinths and daffodils grew. They are now done with their spring duty, but I will keep them as they will need to maintain their greenery to provide energy to next year’s bulbs and flowers. Again, their leaf form is a dead giveaway.

Soon I am in the area of railroad ties, with the south garden fence to their north. There is some kind of perennial herb here which I do not know its name. If it gets a little rambunctious, it gets pulled. However, at this point in the season it is a nice ground cover, so I let it alone. After finding more grass, I find the “perennial geranium.” This is a common name, but it has geranium-like leaves and flowers. It is also fragrant, if you want to call it that. But, it does not share the pleasant fragrance of a scented or zonal geranium. And it is not a traditional perennial geranium, such as Johnson’s Blue. It is whatever it is, and it is blooming profusely—it did not end up in the weed bag. I also find my purple miniature iris, and like lilies, their leaves are straight and parallel veined.

The tent fence area is my next target. I crawled under it to see how the hollyhocks are doing, and to pull out grass. I also found a large perennial coreopsis which had seeded from the garden. It is doing no harm, although it is in the wrong place. I gave its leaves an encouraging slap as I passed it by; after all, I hear goldfinches like its seeds.

My weeding under the tent fence was cursory at best. Grass was pulled up along the edge until the fence ended. This also included dandelions. I really like dandelions, but not in my garden or with my perennials. Their leaves form a rosette, and are long and quite narrow. They also have many indentations. With a little experience, their growth and flower habit will become immediate. Early in the spring I eat the leaves when I pull them; now they are too bitter. And earlier in May I would have picked off the flowers for a quick sniff.

In the southeast corner, lilacs, iris and surprise lilies prevail. These are well-established plantings, and are familiar to me. I checked on the prairie cup plant again. This looks so much like a weed it is ridiculous; it is a good thing it has a square main stem with ridges. Way in the corner, the winter onions are setting stalks for their bulbs which they will drop later in the summer. When in doubt, just pick the end of the leaf, and if you smell that wonderful onion smell, you’ll know what you’ve found. The bulb stalks are smooth and straight and round. This will change when the bulbs mature. The bulb stalks will bend, and break off so the bulbs can hit the soil.

My next weeding tasks will be to pull more weeds among the rocks on the south side of the property, south of the lawn, and north of the railroad ties. When finished with this, I’ll weed along the north garden fence. Again, I’ll be after the grass, and any other weed that has the nerve to grow in this area; I doubt if I’ll encounter much else interesting. But when I weed the perennial bed, just east of the house, and on the west side of the garden, I’ll be full of challenges again. And even when you aren’t experienced, and are trying something new (something I do each year) there are other ways to tell the difference between wanted plants and weeds.

Slowing Down a Bit

By Roger Erpelding
Contributing Writer

Here it is—already May 28. Planting the garden and flower beds is now complete, and maintenance is now well under way.

Rob found more deer tracks in the alley on May 27, but the fence is holding up well, with no additional damage. Just a few feet west of the hollyhock plants are two groups of hostas—not the ordinary nondescript kind, but “fragrant” ones that I paid good money for. They are Fragrant Bouquet and Guacamole. They are undamaged. When it comes to gardens, hostas are supposed to be “deer candy.” Again, it shows you what I know.

Yes, I can really say that garden planting is complete. Last night I planted an additional geranium I acquired, along with four marigolds. They are in a large pot in the northwest corner of the pine tree garden.

I have spent a couple of evenings just going around to see how things are doing. Out in the alley, east end, a large iris should open today. It is dark purple. It is one of my favorites—large ruffly flowers and fragrant. I have no idea as to what cultivar it is.

In that same area, the Cup plant is growing and doing well. It sure does look like a weed to me, but with one difference. I noticed that the main stem is not round, but almost square, with ridges. As it matures, the leaves will have no stems, and the leaf axils will collect water when it rains—another way for me to tell it from a weed.

And while I’m in that area of the yard, I did a little follow up on the potted plants on the south side of the house. They all look healthy, but the pots on the east end of the south side may be lacking in light, due to the Korean Spice Bush at the south end of the east side of the house. Even though we’ve had 0.8 inches of rain over the past couple of days, they are close enough to the house where some additional watering may be in order. Each pot will get a 2 gallon container of water when that time comes. The rain barrel will supply this need, and I’ll carry the watering cans to the pots; after all, I need the exercise anyway.

I love the new raised bed on the south side of the house. So do the peppers, cucumbers, the tomato, and the ground cherries. The eggplant aren’t doing poorly, but they are a little slower. Perhaps the cooler weather set them back. The lettuce, spinach and radishes in this bed may be harvested as early as next week. I severely thinned the radishes last week, which has just encouraged the others to grow. The radishes have broader leaves than the lettuce, but they are rough; the spinach has large leaves as well, but they are smoother. In this case, you could taste all the leaves as well, because they are all edible. When I pick the lettuce and spinach for a salad, I’ll probably thin the radishes again as well, and eat those leaves, too.

Late last week, I was in the garden for a little monitoring. The beans are up, and the initial stand looks good. None of the vine crops are up, but I expect them to pop through soon. I haven’t been out in the garden since late last week, due to the rain. However, in the old perennial bed on the west side, there is enough mulch present whereby I can crawl around and “look” at the different perennials. My Baptisia, or false indigo, will be blooming soon. The Camassia spikes are in full color. My purple and white iris are out as well. This iris was supposed to be an “Immortality” cultivar, which is white. However, I like whatever iris they are so well that I’ll live and let live. The fern leaf or “Mother’s Day Peony” has finished its blooming for the year. Their satiny smooth flowers are neat. The woodland poppies have already begun to set seed pods. My Amsonia “Arkansas Blue Star” which I thought was dead is alive and well. The gas plant I tried to kill twice last year is definitely alive, well and blooming—much to my great pleasure. The delphinium stocks are beginning to bud as well. I’ve forgotten their cultivar, but they are very reliable. And soon, my pride of the perennial bed, the yellow Itoh Peony, will be out.

Yes, the rain and warmer weather are making things grow. But along with the plants come the weeds. That will be my next project. I’ll let you know how I tell plants from weeds each step of the way.

Maintenance Begins

By Roger Erpelding
Contributing Writer

Monday, May 19, Beth stopped by a garden center to pick up some cocoa bean mulch for her flower beds. In addition, she picked up 4 more sweet banana peppers for me, which I will plant later this week.

While touring the yard, she also noticed that one of my hollyhock plants had been pulled up, and the leaves had been eaten. She immediately placed it in a water bath, and it will survive. A new leaf is already beginning to grow from the central core. What caused this damage? My theory was a deer. A rabbit will gnaw off a leaf from a stem in a clean angular cut. It would not have the strength to pull the plant out. A ground squirrel may also be the culprit, but with many of the hollyhocks having their leaves eaten as well, deer are my suspects.

On the north end of the property, Beth also found my hellebore (Lenten Rose) dug up and eaten. I thought these plants were deer resistant, as they have thick leathery leaves that are spiny; shows you what I know. Again, she put it in the water bath beside the hollyhock. One leaf remains standing, and it should survive.

It was time to take action. Tuesday night I went forth to fight another war with the critters of the neighborhood. Our son Rob, who built the connecting fence in April, came by to see the damage. He recommended a “tent fence” for the hollyhocks until they got bigger. We have some wire fence left over, so we connected it to the south garden fence. This will let light, air and moisture get to the hollyhocks. It will not stop rabbit damage if it occurs, but it just might deter the deer. It did not take us long to tie the two fences together, which we did after I re-planted the hollyhock. While building the fence, Rob found deer tracks in the alley, which confirmed my assessment.

The hellebore got a different treatment. Years ago, a friend of mine gave me some white tiles, which help protect short perennials and other plants, especially from rabbits. I noticed that the adjacent hellebore, which had also been damaged, was trying valiantly to re-sprout again. Re-planting the Lenten Rose was easy. I placed a white tile over each plant, and then sprinkled a handful of blood meal on each plant.

While traveling around the garden Sunday morning, we noticed two pepper plants missing. This could have been the work of any number of critters. So, while I planted tomatoes, Rob sprinkled animal repellent on all of the peppers. Again, I am suspecting the deer. The next time it rains, I’ll have to renew the repellent routine, but I have plenty of product, so it won’t be a problem.

These types of protective measures will need to take place during the entire season. Our city tells us we don’t have a deer problem, but I have the evidence. On June 29, our garden will be a part of the Keep Windsor Heights Beautiful annual garden tour. With luck, maybe we’ll have a few city council members tour our yard and they will see the damage while a few deer amble through the area.