Thursday, May 23, 2013

The garden

My tomato plants, protected from whatever creature likes to eat them
Many years ago my late father-in-law reported to me that birds were eating the leaves off the tiny tomato plants he had set out in his back yard.  I remember telling him that I had never heard of such a thing.  Two years ago, I set out the tomato plants I raised in the house from seed and something striped them of leaves, leaving only a miserable little stem.  I mentioned on my blog that something was eating the leaves and someone, a Tractor Tales buddy I think, emailed me and said it was probably birds.  When I asked him what kind of birds, he said he thought it was robins doing it.  
Now, I had been gardening for forty years and had never seen this happen, but I took him at his word.  Last year I bought all my tomato plants, so they were larger and not so susceptible to being eating down to the stem.  
This year I raised some plants from seed again and, totally forgetting about my problem year before last, set them out.  Once again, I went out one morning to find most of them eaten down to the main stem.  So I made a fort for each plant out of milk cartons and decided to see if they would grow new leaves.  

 Indeed, they are making new leaves.

They are recovering quite well, actually.  I bought a few more plants just in case these didn't make it.  No problems with anything eating their leaves, because they are larger.  

Then the little birds (or whatever... I've never seen them with my own eyes) moved on to the sweet potato vines, and on those, they didn't even leave a stem!  So I laid this old screening over the row.  

Even though no stem was left, the tiny plant emerged and began growing leaves.  

My garden is nothing to brag about this year.  Cliff's sister likes to put up pickled beets for a couple of relatives, and the two rows of beets I planted just for her are doing well.  Other things, however, have refused to emerge at all.  Given all the events of the past month, I really don't care much, but it puzzles me why some simple things like carrots refuse to germinate.  I have been trying to use up old seed, so maybe that's the problem.  At least the green beans came up, as you can see in the top picture, to the right of the tomato forts.  Oh yes, and the potatoes are on the left.  So maybe I'll have green beans and potatoes, if nothing else.    


Amy said...

at least you've properly spaced yours... I went all rebel 'they don't tell me how to space my tomato plants!' and now it's a jungle out there...smh


Looks like you found a way to outsmart the culprits doing this to your plants. So that's a GOOD thing.

Margaret said...

I cheated and bought tomato plants, which are already getting huge. When should I start to stake them up, Donna? Patt was always in charge of that. Should I buy cages? I think I could easily live on potatoes and green beans. :) I am also a huge fan of pickled beets though.