Corn, barley, oats and buckwheat require a lot of space, as do winter squash, pumpkins and melons. So, I have a garden in our field. The first year this garden yielded 160 dozen ears of corn, 85 butternut squash, 50 pumpkins, twenty muskmelons, many watermelons and several 5-gallon buckets of winter wheat that Karen made into flour, not to mention gobs of green beans, peas and I forget what else. Interlopers discovered it near the end of the second season. The third year, last year, a ground hog moved in and picked every little ear, something nibbled on the squash, deer gobbled all the oats a day or two before I planned to harvest them, and the winter wheat and buckwheat failed because of weeds and lack of rain. You might say it was a total loss, except for the exercise.
I said I wasn't going to plant the field garden this year. Never trust a gardener who says things like that, but really, I meant it. When the farmer who cuts our hay dropped by to make plans for this year, he asked Karen, "Do you want me to plow that garden?" Karen told him no, then mentioned it to me. I telephoned him right away and said "Sure," and started thinking how to make it work. A fence, definitely. What kind of fence?
"Peanut butter and a few thousand volts."
"It's not that bad," I say.
"Oh? Are you sure?" she asks.
"Yes, I'm positive," I say, "and our camera still works." (I was relieved to learn this after an accidental test.)
I've also planted seven hills of squash and melons. The next photo shows the row of hills, surrounded by newspaper, magazines and cardboard, and covered by mulch. I'd like to mulch much of the rest of this garden.
Speaking of young, while Karen and I were installing the electric fence, Lex and Rosie, our boxers, roamed the rest of the field. When Karen noticed Rosie's bark, persistent, off in the distance, she set off to investigate. See her blog for May 27, "Look what Rosie found," at
Different strokes for different folks
2 weeks ago