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Memoirs of an Arizona Gardener

I lived in Germany for many years. Each year, I made it my goal to get acquainted with the earth. The first year I dabbled with bulbs. The second year was the year of the strawberry. The last two years in Germany, we had quite the garden going. We had tomatoes, green beans, peas, tons of strawberries, a sunflower, carrots, tons of herbs, tomatillos, and more. We succeeded in just about everything we grew. We did have a little trouble with cucumbers because the slugs kept eating the blossoms. My point is that it was so easy to grow food. Throw out some seeds and then you’d have a plant.

Fast forward to the Fall of 2013 . . .

We moved to Arizona and bought a house with a garden bursting with yummy goodness. I thought, “Great. My garden is going to be even better next year.” Then, I decided to plant a winter garden.

I planted a winter garden. And then, I replanted it. And then . . .  I  . . . replanted it . . . again. Actually, I kept replanting all fall and winter long. I even broke down and bought some little plants to put into the garden. My winter garden is best described as an epic failure.

Why? Well, I was convinced rabbits were eating all my seedlings. I would see all my seedlings popping up and the next morning when I went to water my budding garden, all the seedlings would be mowed down. The first leaves would all be missing and little itty bitty stems would remain. And then, the next day the stems would be gone entirely.  Rabbits, mice, rats, birds, or lizards. You pick.

This happened every single time I planted my kale, lettuce, spinach, and such. Then, I finally bought some kale and lettuce and planted it. I thought that since they were sizable plants that they might have a fighting chance. They did. For about a week. The kale seemed to slowly disappear. I felt like I was in an episode of Looney Tunes.

We put up a garden fence to keep out the rabbits. This was in addition to the woven wire fence around my yard that is reenforced with chicken wire. This did nothing to keep my garden vermin-free. Then, I decided to walk the perimeter of my yard and find out exactly where the rabbits where coming in. I found all kinds of holes and spaces where they were coming in. I piled rocks and filled in holes and did all kinds of stuff to keep them out. By the end of winter I had three lettuce plants and they were looking really bad. And of course, I found two rabbits in my yard! They could get in, but couldn’t find their way out. Annie took care of them for me, but the trend hasn’t ended.

Now it’s spring, and I’ve planted again. I guess I’m hoping that the rabbits will find tastier treats outside the yard now. I put rat and mouse traps in the garden and have caught nothing. I planted a few weeks ago and have had quite a lot of seedlings coming up. And guess what? I’ve noticed that they are starting to disappear again!

I started some seeds indoors (another fiasco). I’m afraid to plant them out in the garden. I have rosemary, parsley, cilantro, and celery outside. They seem to be just fine. It’s everything else I plant. I even have carrots and nothing has been eating them!

I’ll be honest. I have never had this much difficulty in having a garden. How do farmers do it? There’s no way to keep rabbits, mice, birds, and lizards from destroying your garden.

I’ve replanted my spring garden for the second time this year. This doesn’t include all the time and effort that I dedicate to the indoor seedlings. I’m pretty sure that this will be the last time for a while, with the exception of planting my indoor babies outside. I’m running out of motivation and feel discouraged. Apparently, I’m really great at growing marigolds, mesquite trees, and crab grass in the garden – all reseeded & not planted by me, of course.

Re-seedingly yours,

Ginger

 



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