27 May 2021

Raising Trouble

A handmade non-level, weathered sand box came with our house. The clay beneath the sand was beginning to take control, so I dug and stirred, then added more sand and some soil, then tried planting corn. We did get a few stalks, but mostly we got weeds. I think we got to eat two ears of corn that autumn.

The second year, I composted all the weeds into the box and tried corn once again.

Pierce, the bunny that came with the house (and got her name from me due to the slash in her ear) tended the garden while we were away at Ride the Rockies.

She ate the corn stalks to the ground!!!

The steep slope, erosion and further wood weathering rendered the sandbox worthless as a raised-bed garden, so Lizard built a new one for me on flat ground back in about 2014.

The flat ground was helpful, but the shade from a tree and our house, as well as an early September snowfall, prevented the first year's corn from maturing. The peas did well, though!

The following year, Lizard built two more raised-bed gardens for me. One has successfully grown spices every year since. Veggies planted in both the spice garden and the first raised-bed garden typically got eaten by bunnies.

I planted flowers in the third raised-bed garden. Because it had a bird-feeder over it, I grew more millet and sunflowers than anything else, but there were a few beautiful flowers now and then.

The flower garden became living quarters for mice, then mama bunnies. Even deer liked to chow down. My garden terrorists ate all my bulbs! For three years, I tried every spice in the book. I planted spices in the flower garden. I planted onions in the flower garden. I finally surrendered. The veggie gardens were good with onions and oregano, which seem to deter critters, but I've not had much luck with peppers, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, squash, pumpkins and cantaloupe. I still took care of the raised-bed gardens, but the flower garden felt very much like a losing battle.

Last winter, I came up with a plan. I thought if we built three more taller raised-bed gardens to put above the existing raised-bed gardens, perhaps we could at least keep the bunnies out of my veggies. The deer, squirrels and raccoons can still be a problem, but they are easier to see, and I can repeatedly shoo them away.

I drew up the equivalent of stick figure gardens with wood sizes and measurements. Of course, I know nothing about building. And Lizard isn't able to build now.

The Young Men from my church came to my rescue and built new raised raised-bed gardens to my specifications, and their leader bolted the creations into place the next day.

Lizard and I put chicken wire on the insides of the new boxes, then I put in a layer of ground cloth. I then put in layers of cardboard, twigs and leaves from last autumn, then put in soil. I bought tomato plants, pepper plants and a zucchini plant, and everything else is from seed.

The seeds are not sprouting yet, but it's been only four days. I'm hoping next week to see some brand new seedlings in the upper boxes. Meanwhile, I've thinned out and weeded the lower levels. I still must be wary of rattlesnakes, but my onions and oregano are going gangbusters!

The chicory in the lower level flower garden took over, so I really thinned it out. Some will come back because I couldn't get the whole root. But I LOVE the blue of chicory, and the bunnies, so far, don't seem interested.

I won't be putting any bulbs in there because I know they will just get eaten. I might stick a bunch of daffodils in there this fall because deer don't like them. And I'll keep trying and experimenting with bunny- and deer-resistant blooms. Gotta have flowers to fill up my blog posts!!!


  1. So you name your critters too! I call our bunny professor Haasenfeffer, and I the deers, Isabelle,Rosebud, and Toby. I see you have "deer friends" too. It is a double edge sword, I love watching them, but don't like when they buffet my garden. Flowers are gorgeous. !

  2. Hope the new height helps keep bunnies away! I'm glad there are some flowers the deer leave alone. :)


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