As many of my readers put their gardens to bed for the winter, I stopped by a local garden center for some annuals. It’s easy taking our moderate California weather for granted having lived here so long. I do remember the frigid winter days in Ontario, Canada, but as a child, not an adult.
I enjoy reading gardening adventures from around the globe. It’s enriching. My friends in the Southern Hemisphere are busy planning spring gardens. To the far north, snow is already falling, and seasonal clean-up is under way. In the warmer climates, things are fuzzier around the edges, but the four seasons prevail.
In gardens everywhere, nature and nurture duke it out. Tiny little seeds arrive with imbedded DNA. Tuck one under some healthy soil, add water and sun and the seed will take it from there.
Sometimes, it is that simple. Often, it’s not. Birds vie for those seeds while small critters eat the seedlings. Insects take a bite out of leaves or host on tender stems. This can kill a young plant before it gets a foothold on life. Mold, fungus or unwanted pesticides from a neighbor’s yard can wreak havoc on a garden life.
Yet year after year, we gardeners garden. Like the tiny seed, we too have our own gardening DNA. I know gardening is in my genes. How about you?
Today’s pumpkin is brought to you by the letter “B”
I headed to my local garden center this week in search of Floating Row Covers (I blogged about them here). I got lazy, and drifted into the Home Depot parking lot instead since it’s closer. After a frustrating search on my own, then with the help of an employee, it was apparent the cupboards were bare. Sure, I could have come home and called around town or simply ordered row covers online, but I really wanted to find a solution pronto for my sunflower seed challenge: keeping squirrels at bay till the seeds grow.
I wandered the store looking for inspiration, and found a role of screening used to repair screen windows and doors. I still wasn’t sure what I would use to support the screening, but at least it would fit two of my requirements: it would allow air to circulate and the seeds would be easy to water. While kneeling in the aisles comparing materials and dimensions, I noticed adjustable window screens and had my ah-ha moment. They were perfect in every way. The light wood and aluminum frame offered the support I needed and the screen would deter the four-legged pests. Hurray!
With a bit of trial and hardly any error, the plan worked. I tied a pair of the adjustable screens together using garden twine. I folded them tee-pee style over the planter boxes and determined the angle and width of the sides. I made a template using the back side of one of last year’s calendar, then cut scraps of an old screen into the correct shape. Mike helped me staple those in place along the ends. I now have functional, reusable tents for my planters. The last step was to figure out a way to secure the tents to the planter boxes. I found my answer on my husband’s work bench: sliding window locks!
I will bravely plant more seeds this week. Once they emerge I’ll report back. Wish my luck.