Monday, July 26, 2010

Danger: Hail, Frost and Pests.

Deon asks:

I'm not sure the entire group is interested in the topic, but I'd love to get advice and commiserate with other gardeners (or those of us that attempt it anyway) here along Magnolia. For example, take ground squirrels. Please! Someone take mine, at least. ;)

Or how do you get anything but green marbles from tomato plants.

Does anyone grow perennial lavender up here successfully? What variety? I'm really interested in getting it started on a south-facing soil slope with poor soil.

My Answer:

Hi Deon,

My big disappointment most years is when a passing hailstorm totally shreds my garden. It's a real heartbreak when my squash leaves get torn into little pieces by the hail stones and then quickly rot, killing my crop.

Getting shredded by hail is a problem for most broad leaf plants up here. This is why most plants up here have narrow leaves that can deflect hail stones.

Also, frost can come early, stunting growth.

And yes, there are lots of pest too that think that you put up the garden just for them.

So, those are the three big dangers I've experienced with gardens up here: hail, frost and pests.

On the flip side, there is a lot of sun. As a matter of fact, I've had seedlings get sun burned once I've put them outside after starting them inside.

This year, I'm experimenting with hanging the tomatoes upside down in planters. That way they are shielded from the hail a bit, I can hang them inside in case of frost, and it is difficult for pesty mammals to get to them.

Also, I have a Goji berry plant that is doing really well in a 5 gallon bucket. I started it indoors and it is currently loaded down with hundreds of berries.

About the chipmunks... I had one that caught it's head in the chicken wire around my flowers the other day. I ended up having to cut the wire loose around it's little head to set it free.

The little guy was just to cute to let him die of thirst.

- Mike