Winnie loves to grow things. Calling her a “natural gardener” may be a fair statement even though she did grow up in a small farming village. Having seen the village she grew up in with it’s wonderful small vegetable plots surrounded by hundreds of acres of rice fields, I’m not too surprised she’s good with plants. But she really does love to grow plants and work in gardens.
She is also extremely resourceful.
Winnie set up some small vegetable garden plots last summer as soon as the weather permitted. With just a few square feet of growing area, she managed to glean enough vegetables for meals a few times a week for most of the summer. In locating her plots, she had to contend with several issues. Our house is on the top of a hill, and about half the backyard has a steep slope. The yard is also on the north side of the house, so much of it does not get enough sunlight to properly grow sun-loving vegetables.
She also has to deal with formidable adversaries in her quest to grow vegetables.
We happen to live on the backside of Andrew Leitch Park, a local park and nature preserve with streams that drain out into the Potomac. Our backyard actually borders this park so we get the privacy and nice view of wooded acreage without the hassle of taking care of it. But, we also get the wildlife that doesn’t seem to know where the property lines are.
Which brings me back to Winnie’s gardens. Last summer, her small vegetable plots had to contend with frequent raids by deer and rabbits. Winnie actually took to making container gardens that she placed on top of the picnic table and benches in order to defend her territory (plants). This worked well against the rabbits, but no so much against deer. As the summer progressed, it was obvious that the word was out about fine dining at the Charest’s Garden Restaurant.
I offered to buy some fencing wire and posts and build fencing around her plots. She was not cool to buying stuff, so I just let her be.
This season Winnie expanded her gardening plots, and planted her first crop as soon as the ground was warm enough. Then she headed off to China for one month. Upon her return, she discovered that the local wildlife had not forgotten about us. Winnie was not happy seeing the few remains of her crops after being savaged by the local fauna. But she was still not cool to the offer of my buying fencing materials and building proper fences. So I let her be.
Winnie had off last Wednesday, and I returned home to discover she had performed some serious engineering. During the day, she had scrounged old wire shelving and scrap wood, along with hardware from my shop, to build one of the most ingenious “fences” I’ve seen anywhere.
Her fencing even includes a gate.
Overall, I’d have to say that the deer and rabbits are no match against a tiny Chinese lady determined to raise vegetables.
Why Virginia Needs Its Bees To Keep On Buzzing : A guest writer blogs about the importance of simple honey bees.
The Birds : We discover a pair of birds setup housekeeping on top of an outdoor floodlight in our backyard.
This and That, May Edition : Catching up on all the early springtime family news.