Friday, July 15, 2016

How to keep animals from digging up newly sown seeds (bloodmeal!)

This squirrel sure seems to be enjoying the few raspberries I'm growing!

I'm pretty sure this gorgeous, sleek, fat squirrel is partially responsible for my garden failures early this season.  While my friends are posting photos of baskets full of green beans, tonight, I sauteed up a pan containing exactly 12 beans.  My family gathered around the dinner table where a plate of the 12 long beans lay straight as the tines on a fine-toothed comb.  Or maybe more like a wide-toothed hairpick. Each member of my family ate his/her 3 beans - not too fast! - lest he/she be accused of taking more than his/her fair share.  

What's the problem? Birds, squirrels, maybe a chipmunk...I'm not sure.  When I sow a row of beans, inevitably 70% of the seeds don't come up.  Sometimes it's because I'm a seed hoarder and put my faith in seeds that should have been tossed years ago.  But most of the time, I go into the garden and find a frustrating little hole where I planted a seed the day before.  Just a few plants make it and thus we end up with 12 beans for dinner.  

However, recently, my husband went to the hardware store and came back with a bag of bloodmeal as a "surprise" for me.  Whyever would you buy that, I asked??? For no other reason than, "Because it sounded like something you'd like".  

I have never used bloodmeal but turns out it supplies a good deal of nitrogen and has a side benefit of repelling small animal pests.  When half of my cucumbers did not come up (with the typical holes the next day where the seeds were just carefully placed), I started again with more seed and sprinkled some of the bloodmeal over the area.  No digging and seeds promptly germinated! 

So while we guardedly eyed each other tonight over the plate of 12 green beans, there is a bumper crop of cucumbers coming up. There will be peace once again in the Spray household and it's due to bloodmeal, a fertilizer with a name that people think gardeners would like.  Well, peace again until my addictive sweet/hot pickles are made - then they'll be eye-balling each other again!

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