Monday, June 23, 2014

Sunflowers, Garden Progress and Keeping the Deer Out

Today my husband and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary!
It has been quite the ride so far.
He took this beach girl from a condo across the street from the ocean in South Florida
 to the base of the Blue Ridge mountains in upstate South Carolina.
I miss the ocean terribly and hopefully we'll move back to it one day...
...but for now, I'm a country girl.
 This country girl has been learning how to grow a garden these past few years.
I started a 4'x4' raised bed container garden 5 years ago
and each year since I've added more raised beds,
but this year we decided to grow a traditional row garden.

We changed to a row garden this year to see if it would be easier to manage
 the amount of water it received.
Last year we had 6 raised beds and a smaller row garden.
The row garden did great but the raised beds stayed saturated all summer and eventually most everything we planted rotted. It rained almost everyday last year and the beds just seemed to hold the water. The year before it was so dry and we couldn't water them enough and most everything withered and died.

We did keep one of the 8'x4' raised beds and moved it behind the cabin.
We are using it for herbs, tomatoes and onions.
The row garden currently has corn, three different varieties of white potatoes, yellow squash, zuchinni, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, carving pumpkins, two varieties of ornamental pumpkins
and a large section of sunflowers.

 The first harvest of corn, potatoes, tomatoes and squash should be ready very soon.
I'm hoping to learn how to freeze and possibly can this year, since it looks like we should have a plentiful harvest over the summer.
We plan to grow into the fall with cooler temp veggies too.
We have a lagre section of sunflowers planted along the outside of the corn.
Sunflowers are my favorite flower and for the past three years my husband has planted them for me.
They are just starting to bloom this summer.

Here is a picture of the sunflowers from two summers ago.

This is a picture of the sunflowers last summer.
He planted wildflowers along the edge of them,
which only added to their beauty.

Don't you just love them?
The deer love them too.
The deer seem to love almost everything in the garden.
We lost an entire 1/2 acre of sunflowers to the deer in 2012,
fortunately, we had another 1/2 acre planted in a separate area that they ignored.
They love to eat the leaves when the plants are small.
Fortunately a gardening neighbor gave us a tip and it has helped.
We placed stakes at each corner of the garden and run two rows of fishing line around the whole outer edge of the garden.
One row is about a foot above the ground and the other row is about two feet above the ground.
Supposedly, the deer walk into the line and feel it but they can't see it,
therefore they won't attempt to cross it.
This method hasn't been foolproof, because I have seen a couple deer tracks in the garden.
However, the only nibbles have been along the edges where they've been able to reach over the fishing line.
We've managed to keep the deer from eating everything and we've been able to water the garden when needed with a sprinkler and it seems to drain well when it downpours. 
Hopefully, we've learned a thing or two over the past few years gardening
and will have the harvest to prove it this year.

So far, so good.
Do you garden?
If so, Id' love to hear your advice or tips and any great recipes for yellow squash or zuchinni.
'til next time, 
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  1. Your garden is beautiful. I have the same deer problem here :( I spend more time trying to figure out how to keep them out of it than I do tending the garden. So far using chicken wire and caging everything in is working this year. I would much rather be where you are than Florida any day :)

    1. Oh those deer. I do love watching them though when they're not bothering my garden. There's not a lot I miss about Florida except the ocean. Fortunately we're only 3 hours from Charleston SC and I love it there:)

  2. So pretty, Adina. Those vegetables look so delicious. I'm sorry, but I had to laugh thinking of the deer trying to eat and get around the wire or fishing line. I imagine it is very frustrating, though. Years ago we tried planting sunflowers and the squirrel's ate our seeds the very first! Hope that your summer is off to a great start.

    Happy Tuesday...

    1. Hi Sherri,
      I didn't even think about the squirrels. They go nuts to get the sunflowers from my bird feeders. I tried using only sunflowers in them to attract finches and we had every squirrel in the area at our bird feeders. I guess I should count it a blessing they haven't found our garden. We have lost two patches of seeds this year to the crows though. We just gave up after they ate the second planting. We had originally planted them along both long sides of the garden on the outside of the corn and only one side has sunflowers growing. I think about 5 sunflowers seeds survived the crows and are growing on that side. Oh well. I can't wait to harvest some of the veggies. That's always the best part. Eating what you've grown!