By Mary Tucker

I always thought of myself as a good gardener. After all, growing up on a farm taught me many things. We always had a large “house garden” which produced enough for daily kitchen use, canning and freezing. This has been a bad garden year for me, with seed not germinating, snails, slugs, soft-shell snails and cutworms attacking emerging plants. Even the seeds that were started in peat pots indoors did not do well. A heavy rain washed away lettuce and carrots planted early in the upper garden by the deck; so I bought new seeds and replanted. The carrots grew and are doing well; the lettuce did not germinate, why I don’t know. I planted more lettuce in a 6-pack, and when it was 1 1/2″ tall transferred it to the garden. Guess what? The next morning it was gone. Lettuce I had planted in a window box type container by the front had started sprouting. The next morning I spied a “peter rabbit” sitting there as pleased as punch–the lettuce was gone. I clapped my hands, he sat there ignoring me. I had to start down the steps before he left. Now I get lettuce from my son’s garden next door, he has a dog! Two nice eggplants I bought and planted disappeared with only the stem left. I was blaming the deer but a woodchuck was seen leaving the garden. The lower garden at the edge of the back lawn didn’t fare much better. Returning from a weekend away, I found just stems of broccoli, cauliflower and sprouts. The cucumbers were gone. Sweet corn and potatoes were okay, so I filled in that space with more corn and potatoes.

Is it worth it? Yes.  I’ve already had Swiss chard, radish, sugar snap peas. Tomato plants have small tomatoes and lots of blossoms, pepper plants all doing well, green and yellow beans will be ready in several weeks and there is nothing better than sweet corn from the garden to the pot…as long as the raccoons stay away. ~