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Garden journal entry


anti-dog defensive measures
April 10, 2023. Let's fast-forward from my last post, more than 10 months ago, to now, shall we? When I wrote in late May, I had been in a very active gardening mode all spring, busying myself with seedlings as always, engaging in a bit of a plant sale for the first time in years, and connecting with local gardeners in a plant swap. It had been a good spring, following a winter with relatively mild freezes and reasonable rainfall as the weather got warmer. But then, in June, the rain just stopped coming. And stayed away for nearly three months, even as the summer heat reached boiling level – it was probably not hotter than normal Texas summers, but with the lack of rain it sure felt that way. Early on in the drought I faithfully went around watering all the new seedlings and recent transplants, but even so many of them died – and after a while I just gave up, since going outside to see all the parched plants was no fun at all. Needless to say, my final yield from all the seedlings I started in winter of 2022 was quite poor. Eventually, some rain returned in fall (although it stayed decidedly on the dry side), and I started to take inventory of what had survived the drought – but then in mid-December, we were hit by a deep freeze that lasted the better part of a week. In most ways, it was slightly milder than winter storm Uri two years earlier, but it seemed to hit the plants at least as hard – in fact, some that had managed to survive Uri haven't made a second return, perhaps because the drought had not been kind to them. So by mid-winter, the backyard was sadly depleted of plants. My indoor seed-starting was going on as usual, but there wasn't much reason to venture outside until recently. Now, finally, the plants whose roots survived are making their comeback from the base, and everything is greening up. Not necessarily the things I want to be greening up, though: it seems like my season of neglect last year was an excellent opportunity for several noxious weeds to dramatically extend their range, so tackling their infestations has been a big job in the past few weeks. But I'm getting there.
One last anti-garden force I hadn't yet mentioned: our new puppy Birdie, a hyper-active black mutt with a love of both digging and running (with no regard whatsoever for the plants that might be in her way). Our backyard is a collection of holes, and many of last year's surviving seedlings that I had transplanted to various borders found that they were no match for Birdie's claws (which are excellent digging devices). When she also took an interest in the new seedlings that are now finding their way into my nursery areas, it was obvious that some protective measures were in order. So I rigged up some panels that used to be part of a puppy corral to some fenceposts to limit easy access to my lovingly planted seedlings. It's too early to say if that's going to be fully effective – but for the sake of Birdie's continued well-being, I sure hope so!

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Last modified: September 09, 2009
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