It looked like all the different animals got together and had a party.
So even though I know that there are so many animals surrounding my garden, I foolishly wrote this in a post just four days ago:
"For the most part I have been lucky over the years to not have much of a problem with pests in the garden. I have an occasional loss to a deer or some other animal and I have a few minor bouts with insects. None of the pests really make much of a difference in the overall outcome of the harvest."
What was I thinking? Writing that was my first mistake. My second mistake was spending all day Friday cleaning up the garden. I weeded and used the weed-eater on all of the tall grass around all of the raised beds. I watered everything thoroughly. The whole vegetable garden looked better than it has all season. My third mistake was deciding not to pick all of those almost ripe heirloom tomatoes. "I can get them in a day or two", I said to myself. "Besides, I want to get some pictures of them still on the vine since they look so good now", I added to put the final nail in the proverbial coffin.
I'm sure by now you know where this is going. I didn't visit the garden Sunday morning and then we were gone all day. Last night just before dark, I walked up to the garden to admire my work.
OH NO! WHAT HAPPENED HERE?!To my horror and amazement, the entire vegetable garden had been attacked! The animals that got together for the party in the snow must have had another party. This time it was an all-you-can-eat buffet! All of those almost-ripe heirlooms, - gone. All of the leaves on the sweet potatoes - gone. Many of the cantaloupe - done for. Half of the bean plants - almost bare. Many of the cucumber leaves - eaten as well.
This was the single worst attack my garden had ever seen. Here are some painful pictures of the carnage:
They took a bite out of six cantaloupe and completely ate the ripest two. Everywhere I looked there were half eaten tomatoes lying on the ground.
Many of the green bean plants lost most of their leaves:
And the most painful of all is what they did to my sweet potatoes. This was the first year I have tried growing them. I only planted one 4'x4' bed.
This is what the sweet potato bed looked like last week:
I don't know much about sweet potatoes, but I would guess that this spells doom for this year's crop.
So what does one do when your garden is so severely attacked? My 10 year old daughter was with me when we discovered all of this and she was pretty upset. So we did the only thing we could do to boost our spirits. We began talking about next year's tall fence and harvested everything we could find that wasn't eaten. The animals left plenty for us:
Not a bad harvest from such a ravaged garden. We can still count our blessings and know that some animals are well fed.
Tonight - we make salsa!