After years of complaining that my kitchen-gardening efforts were thwarted by drought, I realized that the opposite scenario can be bad too. D.C.’s rainiest year ever saw much of my attempt at a fall crop go to a watery grave when lettuce, spinach and various herb seedlings couldn’t withstand repeated downpours.
After the weather, the local wildlife was my biggest obstacle this year. The rabbits that scamper throughout our neighborhood may amuse our daughter, but they also found yet another way to get through the netting I’d stretched over a raised bed and devour all the lettuce and green beans in sight. To add to the indignity, one wall of that raised bed then fell apart from rot.
(For reference: my 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 gardening grades.)
If you only try to grow one vegetable, make it this one. Arugula grows prolifically in the spring and fall–the photo at right dates to only last week–it’s great in a salad or on a sandwich, and unlike lettuce you can use it in risotto or an omelette.
This grade is inflated by how well sage, parsley, and (after a slow start) mint did. Basil, however, was nowhere near as prolific as it was last year, and cilantro underperformed by an even larger margin. Mint, rosemary, dill and oregano did okay, while thyme had no time for me.
After years of frustration, I finally got a respectable tomato crop. Lesson learned: There’s no such thing as overengineering your attempts to keep squirrels away from tomato plants. Another lesson learned: There is no tomato more delicious than the one you pluck on a summer afternoon and slice up, still warm from the sun.
A solid spring was not matched by any fall crop, thanks to the aforementioned precipitation.
Same problem here. Which is too bad, considering how last year’s spinach survived throughout the winter.
Green beans: D
I thought these were off to a good start, and then those rascally rabbits made short work of them all.
The seeds I planted did not appear to survive contact with dirt. To be fair, I think the seeds were from last year.
Bell peppers: F
These, too, failed to sprout, extending my streak of futility at trying to coax a crop of these out of my garden.
A ..22, or a cat, will take care of the rabbits. And the squirrels. 😉
Wildlife can be so beautiful to watch, but so discouraging when they devour the garden. My fencing keeps out the rabbits, but the raccoons and squirrels are undeterred. I just try to plant enough for everyone, although I know in an urban situation this is not feasible. Sturdier netting? Plantskydd repellents also work well for me, but need to be applied after every rain. It’s the only thing that saves my tulips from rabbits and deer though.
Pingback: An easy fix for being overrun by parsley: parsley-walnut pesto | Rob Pegoraro
Pingback: A better time of year to bikeshare | Rob Pegoraro
Pingback: 2019 gardening report card: the persistence of parsley | Rob Pegoraro
Pingback: 2020 gardening report card: a very small hill of beans | Rob Pegoraro
Pingback: 2021 gardening report card: a belated basil assessment | Rob Pegoraro
Pingback: 2022 gardening scorecard: a pleasant pepper surprise | Rob Pegoraro