Rambunctious Peas and Armadillo Predations

I’m leaving tomorrow for a week of camping in Mississippi, so this morning was full of garden chores. Happy Spring!

The second planting of peas are growing like crazy with this mild weather and spring rain, frolicking rambunctiously over the garden beds. They are also completely ignoring the cool recycled trellises I built. Apparently peas do not appreciate cool recycling projects. So this morning I took an old pair of pantyhose and carefully cut the legs into narrow rings (think calamari) and snipped the ends. Pantyhose makes sturdy and stretchy garden ties that won’t garrote the tender pea plants. Then I carefully separated the sprawling tangle and loosely tied the vines to the trellises. Hopefully now they will grow up the bamboo and I can actually harvest some peas!

 

The armadillos are definitely back in force. There were small holes dug all over the lawn and in my garden beds, and all but the tiniest Swiss Chard seedlings were either dug out or gnawed off. The armadillos leave the peas, oregano, parsley, thyme, red sorrel, and Chinese garlic chives completely alone and eat the Swiss Chard, lettuce, and kale seedlings. It’s so weird.

So I’m trying something different. I have a few tiny Swiss Chard seedlings left. I cut the bottom off of a clean gallon milk jug and placed the whole thing over the seedlings like a cloche. I’m hoping that the cloche will protect the seedlings until they reach a 4″ inches or so. Then I’ll remove the cloche and see what happens.

This morning I also planted the Florida heritage Seminole Pumpkin seeds from the Grow Gainesville seed bank. I’ve never tried growing Seminole Pumpkins but they seem to be everyone’s choice for hardiness and resistance to disease. With all of the problems I’ve had in the past few years I definitely needed something with strong disease resistance.

The question is: will the armadillos eat pumpkin seedlings? Just in case, I decided to make mini-cloches for the pumpkins, too. The cloches will hopefully also protect the seeds and the seedlings from the army of hungry squirrels n this neighborhood. I have read about making cloches out of 2-liter soda bottles many times but we don’t drink much soda, so instead I used smaller plastic drink bottles. I simply cut the bottoms off with scissors, planted the seeds, and nestled the bottles over the seeds. The caps are left off to keep the inside from getting too hot and breeding fungus. Too much heat and humidity in the seedling environment and you risk damping off.

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