A few years back I wrote a post about my tomatoes. The critters were eating them first. After I put in a dog pen I was able to enjoy a garden. Then this year happened. If you read my post on Sunday you know that a groundhog scaled my 6 foot fence and had dinner.
What follows chronicles my trials and tribulations in growing my own! This was from 2012 when I thought I had the answer. Now I don’t know.
My mother always had a garden. She grew string beans, peppers, corn, herbs, other vegetables and…..drum roll please…tomatoes. If you never had a tomato right from the plant, you haven’t had a good one. No problem with groundhogs at all.
You can’t refrigerate tomatoes. It kills the flavor and all grocery stores refrigerate them to extend selling time. They also pick them under ripe.
Years ago you could go to a farm market during the summer and get wonderful tomatoes. Those little farm stands grew bigger and put in refrigeration. Bummer.
I planted a garden just like Mom’s. I have been doing this for years but eight years ago (13 now) I moved to the current house about a half mile from a protected wildlife preserve.
I thought living there would be cool and it was the first time I saw a herd of deer in my yard. Then the wild turkeys came in to visit (still cool).
The mallard ducks tried to make out (yes, hook up) in my pond (still cool).
There are always the rabbits and groundhogs which are everywhere along with raccoon, fox, opossum and other critters doing things I won’t post here. I have learned a lot about sex. Frogs have the best stamina. Take my word for it.
My first garden didn’t stand a chance so I surrounded it with a four-foot chicken wire fence. The deer could stick their heads over it and the groundhogs didn’t have any problems either.
Then there was the six-foot fence with plastic deer netting. I thought that would be easy to handle. There was no door so I had to untie a section every time I wanted to go in. Sigh.
I tried all kinds of wildlife repellent. Some smelled like rotten eggs and some were little soaps. Nothing worked long-term. The groundhog even climbed my peach trees to have dessert.
The ever patient beloved husband took me to a fencing place where they quoted us $2,500 to put in a 10 foot by 10 foot by 6 foot high chain link fence with a people door. Yikes. Assuming I could get 25 pounds of tomatoes out of the garden, that’s $100 a pound.
Then I had a brainstorm. (The beloved husband hates brainstorms. They are expensive and always mean work for him.)
I saw a dog kennel with a people door. I bought one with the same dimensions for $250 and it was just as sturdy except it wasn’t cemented in the ground. We had to install landscaping timbers to mount it and good soil to amend the existing clay. We bought landscaping plants so it didn’t look gross from the street.
All told I brought the cost of the tomatoes down to $25 per pound. I think that’s a bargain! Amortized over time, it’s almost nothing. This is a memory from my childhood! There is no price tag on that.
It worked for years. A genius groundhog has now figured out how to climb it to get to the finest dining in the neighborhood.
As for the beloved husband….he’s still shaking his head.
Maybe we need a dog patrol.