Grit Blogs > Living Just One Cornfield Away From Civilization

Still planting in 90 degrees

A photo of KateThis year has been rather warm with summerlike temperatures and very little rainfall. It is also the year that some little critter has found my raised beds which is why I am still planting green beans on a 90 degree day in mid June!

With everything starting out early in the garden and a 10 day weather forecast favorable, I took the chance to plant some green beans about 2 weeks before the official last frost date. I was lucky as far as the weather went, but a groundhog, or maybe a something else, took that week to investigate what was going on in those nice garden areas filled with easy to move soil. Very few green beans were left to germinate after that onslaught! Alas I was out of town for a few weeks and it has taken until now to see the full effect of the little night wanderer.

Fast forward to this past weekend and either the same fella or another one returned with a vengeance and not only dug a major hole, but uprooted small tomato plants and buried some late maturing lettuce – this was war! 

Rodent damage
Rodent damage in the vegetable garden.  

Defend strategy round one was to spread some organic predator deterrent which I had in the garage. I did that yesterday and there are still some foot prints although the damage is less. The repellant would be more successful if I could find some nice clean tracks to identify the rodent and target that rather using a generic one. Round two will be to use chicken wire or some other material to cover the new green bean seeds until they can hold their own. The advantage of smaller beds is that this is not too difficult, but I have to wonder if I had gone through with tilling up some garden space for the peas and beans, if more would have survived.

The good news is that the main bed still had peas intact even thought there were no beans and after removing the peas this past week, that bed is now empty and ready for planting. Two smaller beds had scarlet runner beans and they escaped any damage.

So this morning I have a variety of beans soaking in manure tea and this evening, after the sun goes down, I will plant them and hopefully in 65 days or so, I will be picking green beans.

Beans soaking in manure tea
Beans soaking in manure tea before planting.  

Usually I do succession planting of green beans anyway, and will do a final one around July 4th so I have only lost the early bush beans. Several of the beans are for dried use in chilli and other winter meals but they should still have time to mature before the first frosts hits in October. The scarlet runner beans, which I find do better in cooler weather, grew well in the early part of June when the temperatures moderated. They are putting out flowers and should mature on schedule. 

kate copsey
7/6/2012 2:51:45 PM

Saia - the battle continues this week - not pretty but working for now. I am running a tight balance between covering up and allowing pollinators in to do their stuff!


nebraska dave
6/26/2012 7:01:34 PM

Kate, grafted tomatoes, huh. I have not seen or even heard of such a thing. Regular and cherry on the same plant. Very interesting. It must be a far North thing as I've not seen anything like that in the Nebraska nurseries. Maybe they will get here some day. I'll have to do some Internet research on the subject now that you have piqued my interest. OK, I'm back from the research. Quick, huh. It looks like they are only in the Northwest area of the U.S. for now. I think I'll be sticking with my tried and true heirloom plants. Have a great day with your grafted tomatoes. Let us all know if they are worth the extra money.


nebraska dave
6/26/2012 7:00:55 PM

Kate, grafted tomatoes, huh. I have not seen or even heard of such a thing. Regular and cherry on the same plant. Very interesting. It must be a far North thing as I've not seen anything like that in the Nebraska nurseries. Maybe they will get here some day. I'll have to do some Internet research on the subject now that you have piqued my interest. OK, I'm back from the research. Quick, huh. It looks like they are only in the Northwest area of the U.S. for now. I think I'll be sticking with my tried and true heirloom plants. Have a great day with your grafted tomatoes. Let us all know if they are worth the extra money.


nebraska dave
6/25/2012 2:10:48 PM

Kate, welcome to the GRIT blogger community. It's a constant battle between the wild life of nature and the domestic gardener. I have a new garden called "Terra Nova Gardens". Most of my plants are doing fine but since the hatch of the Wild turkey chics, my last sweet corn planting has the tops of the corn chewed off. Some of the seeds have been scratched out of the ground and I expect eaten. The goofy little birds don't know any better. If they would only wait another couple months they could gorge themselves on sweet corn. I knew when I started this endeavor this spring that it was going to be a challenge between domestic and wild nature. The first planting of corn hasn't been bothered so it's only the small sprouts they are after. I'm going to keep planting as well and see what are the best times to plant. I'll have a better idea on how to plant next year. I did have a gopher in my lawn a few years ago but I encouraged him to move on by killing all the grubs in the lawn. He moved into the neighbor's yard and eventually disappeared. The only way to deal with the buggers in a garden is to dig out the bed to about 18 inches, line it with chicken wire and fill the dirt back in. It's a lot of work but effective. Have a great day in the garden.


s.m.r. saia
6/22/2012 7:41:53 PM

I've had the same groundhog problem, only they haven't bothered my beans. I lost head of romaine lettuce last week. Prior to that I had a little rabbit that was demolishing my squashes, and someone ate the tops off of four of my smallest pepper plants! Fortunately all the pepper plants came back, but it's frustrating. Good luck with this new round of beans!