Monday, December 21, 2015

We are headed for Winter

Finally, the weather has settled into normal temperatures.  Even with an extra month of warm weather I'm still behind in getting the garden put to bed. I will be working in the garden as long as the temperatures allow and the ground isn't covered with snow.

I've mulched the 10 foot space between the road and fence at Terra Nova Gardens.  The weeds are buzzed down as close to the ground as possible; then old carpet is put down on the ground under side up; then two inches of hard wood mulch is put on top of that.  It should rectify the weed problem permanently.   It takes a little more time up front but now that it's done it will be weed free for many years.  Maybe  long after I'm gone.

The three year deer fence project is finally completed.  Yea!  The last part doesn't look too pretty but I'm hoping it will be functional.  I still have a few holes to repair to make it a first line defense for the raccoons.  I don't expect this fence to keep them out but it might slow them down.

During the four years of gardening at Terra Nova Gardens, I have harvested a total of just a handful of barely mature ears.  The raccoons have invaded and destroyed the entire corn patch in just one night.  This is the beginning of what I call the sweet corn fortress. After the weeds, which got terribly out of control this year, were cleared off the soil, a layer of old carpet was laid in place.  The next task was acquiring rocks removed from the neighbor's wall.  He widened his driveway and used retaining wall blocks to rebuild the wall.  These rocks are being used to line the raised beds.  They are put in place with a four by twenty eight foot growing area.  Including the width of the rocks the beds are five feet wide.  When the rocks are all in place the carpet is cut out of the growing area and saved to cover the bed when not in use.  On the right you can see a completed bed with a grass/leaf mixture to compost down over the Winter.  Three of these beds will be inside the fortress.  When the beds are finished a four foot chicken wire fence will surround the fortress without any gate.  Access to the area will be by removable concrete block steps to climb over the fence.  On the outside of the fence, four wires will be electrified by a battery powered electric fence charger.  The wires will be four, eight, twelve, and twenty four inches from the ground.

Outside of the electrified and chicken wire fence, two of these live traps will be baited with marshmallows, a raccoon's favorite food.  Once they are caught, I think I'll tag them and release them to give them a second chance because really I have invaded their territory.   I'll let you know how it all works out next year.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


  1. Wow, your garden fort is certainly impressive. The raccoons won't stand a chance. I did the carpet thing between my raised beds in my garden five years ago but I wish I hadn't. Now I can't get rid of the nap fibers that are distributed throughout my raised beds' dirt by small animals and/or insects. I'm gradually hand-picking them out whenever I dig over the beds and sift the beds to remove crabgrass and other weed roots.
    Pat in Havelock (Lincoln)

  2. I love the rock lined beds--looks neat AND rustic. Very cool.

    Hope your raccoon fortress works. I know the marshmallows do the trick for me now. I put them out about 2 days before the corn is ready and they worked like a charm last year. I know what you mean about relocating them, but know that if it's within 5 miles, they'll be back!!

    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a great garden in the New Year

  3. I always enjoy reading your posts and watching the progress of your garden. Thank you for the time and effort you take to share your experiences. It's appreciated. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

  4. You are doing great using the warmer weather to mulch those paths and build the fence. If I had time, I'd be out pulling weeds. Some are already getting a head start for next year. I like your racoon barrier and capture plan. Somehow, I think you'll have a lot of photos of captured racoons. Marshmellows? I had not heard that one before.
    Merry Christmas!

  5. May your fortress repel all invaders! As you know, I too know the feeling of raising corn just to feed raccoons. I'm hoping that this year both of us have lots of juicy sweet corn on the cob, and the raccoons can go find something else to eat!

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