I recently told a friend that when I die there will be a squirrel or rat trapped in my cold, dead hands. This is how strongly I feel about critters eating my baby seedlings. All of the seedlings I planted in the raised-bed garden on the side of the house, including the peas that were doing so well (and climbing!) and the Tokyo Onions, are now gone, literally nibbled to death.
So, I came up with another plan: container planting on the patio outside of my home office. I get fewer critters there because a) I’m there all day and b) it’s the location of our dog door, with two dogs crossing the patio day and night. I’ve been starting seeds there and nothing has bothered the seedlings in this location, a good sign. I now have three tables set up and, to my husband’s chagrin, have started using the top of the hot tub cover as a nice flat surface for seedling flats too.
In addition, right next to the patio is a sunny area that I’m going to turn into another 4′ x 8′ raised bed. I’ll blog on that soon, as there’s a really cool, inexpensive and tool-free way to create raised beds.
First, however, the containers:
I’ve been reading a wonderful book called The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat It Too. In addition to wonderful and creative suggestions for companion planting (growing plants next to each other in ways that they support each other), the author grows a lot of veggies in containers. Since I have some huge containers left over from tomatoes I planted last summer (one is still in use and producing beautiful Aiko Grape Tomatoes), I’m going to fill them up and place them around the sunny patio. Not everything will grow in containers–for example I’m not going to dedicate an entire 15-gallon container to one cabbage–but I should be able to grow some kale, lettuces and maybe even shallow carrots and beets. (Shallow carrots are the short or round ones.)
In the meantime, I’ll be working on ways to keep critters out of the garden on the side of the house. Stay tuned as I’m leaning toward adopting barn cats but hesitating a bit and building family consensus before I add to our horse-goat-dog menagerie.