Mark’s garden — a banquet for the critters

My husband Mark has planted a vegetable garden ever since the early days of our marriage. We had a very large rectangular garden at the back of our first yard. He built some boxes and grew vegetables in raised beds at our second and third homes. When we moved here about eighteen months ago, there weren’t very many good sunny locations for him to plant a vegetable garden. But we cut down a couple of honeysuckle and two dreadfully overgrown lilac bushes below our deck and Mark carved out a manageable little garden.

A view of Mark's garden from the deck August 8, 2011

It’s kind of nice because he has a built-in trellis from the deck structure. In the early spring Mark planted lettuce, spinach, peas, and snow peas. I’m not sure how all these vegetables tasted because Mark wasn’t able to harvest any. I suspect they were quite good because the little creatures in the garden appeared to enjoy them based on the way they ravaged the plants.

Close-up of tomato plants August 8, 2011

When the early plants were done, Mark planted tomatoes and peppers. If you look closely you can see a tomato or two at the top of the plant. Mark says eventually the plant gets tall enough that the little critters can’t reach the vegetables. He may be able to get a tomato or two yet. He believes he will also be able to harvest some peppers.

Little yellow tomatoes August 11, 2011

Mark also planted little yellow “cherry” tomatoes, which is likely not the name. But they’re small little tomatoes of the yellow variety. For some unknown reason, the critters have left these alone.

Our deck August 11, 2011

Mark knew his plants were at risk because of the surrounding woods and the wildlife here. So he outwitted the creatures and planted two large pots with tomato plants on our deck. As our house sits on a hill, this deck is a story off the ground. The deck starts at ground level on the side of our house, and a walkway leads around the side to the back where the deck opens up into this space. At the far end is an enclosed screen porch. It would take some kind of gutsy animal to walk all the way around our house on this deck to get to those plants.

Tomatoes on our deck August 8, 2011

Monday I went out and photographed all those beautiful, luscious tomatoes.


Oh no. Thursday when Mark went out to check on his tomatoes, this is what he found. Somebody had a little tomato banquet, and it wasn’t us.

Next year—fences.


See more posts about gardening in my series.

24 thoughts on “Mark’s garden — a banquet for the critters”

  1. I learned to plant tomatoes far away from rest of plants even though they were not fruit or vegetable plant. Tomatoes seem to attracted every kind of insect pests. Even ones that have been extinct for a million years reemerge. Green inch worms and those leaf miners that leave white trails. The leaf miners destroyed my bouganvillas. I used an empty windex or fantastic spray bottle, filled with clean water, put in cigarette butts and when the water turns to the color of tea you have the best organic insect killer around. Spray every other day and completely non toxic to plant or fruit.

    1. Carl, you had me laughing out loud with “Even ones that have been extinct…” I’m certain I have seen some of those, as well.

    2. I’m with Patti. Very funny. You must grow some very tasty tomatoes. That’s interesting about the cigarette butts. I don’t smoke. Can I use a whole unlit cigarette if I can bum one off of somebody? Great tip. I can’t wait to try it. Does it get rid of june bugs on roses?

  2. I know the feeling! Our “critters” are deer. But this year I have sprayed everything with Deer Out and they seem to have left things alone. Our neighbor has beautiful flowers—just wonderful plantings and she has fences up and then sprays them with the Deer Out stuff and they still look beautiful so it must work! Not sure what works with bunnies and the like that might be nibbling on your lovelies!!!

    1. Thanks for the tip. Never sure if such products work. Will have to try it. My daughter saw a mother deer and her fawn strolling down our street yesterday. Love em…but they do wreck havoc in my yard whenever they get the chance… 🙂

  3. I’d say raccoons are the culprits… though I have once seen a bear trot up steps onto a deck.

    My parents typically had vegetable gardens, and my dad disliked them. When they moved to cottage country, they were still planting a garden, mostly for beans, and for a few years it was okay, but the last straw for Dad was one year when the deer ate the whole crop. That was the end of vegetable gardening.

    1. I kind of think it’s racoons, too. They’re pretty gutzy. I got into a stand-off with one at our campsite years ago when it was trying to run off with my tupperware bowl full of chocolate chip cookies in the middle of the night. It sneaked into our dining tent and pulled the bowl out through the bottom of the side. I heard it; went outside; and we stared at each other for a while.

      I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to scare him off.

      I got my tupperware bowl back, but the raccoon had gotten it open and was eating the cookies, so I threw them all away.

  4. Boy do I relate with this post. My husband and I battled a squirrel invasion that stripped not only vegies from our garden but leaves and flowers from our plants. We did finally win the battle after three weeks and $300.

  5. Argh. I hate it when that happens! (But the garden is lovely!!) This year deer munched our bean plants prior to any blooms — but didn’t eat them all so we got beans. I wish we could ship you some tomatoes, we have a lot, and for some reason we have no pests eating them YET. (p.s. have you considered that Arthur may be the culprit? 🙂 We used to have a golden retriever who once ate every tomato and green pepper we had in an entire — HUGE — garden in about an hour. Impressive but annoying!)

  6. Enjoying your beautiful woodlands make up for the loss of garden veggies. Still, it must be very frustrating for you. I hope these frisky critters will share some of the crop with you. Blessings…

  7. I absolutly adore the interesting angle of the pic. So fresh and different. I also adore your patio furnature. I am so with on the fences, you grow nice tomatoes though, I always forget to water mine so I end up with no produce 🙂 Anyways, I hope that you are doing great and surviving the summer heat. Thank you for being a great blogging friend!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I’m not good with watering potted plants either. I have to rely on mother nature in my gardens. My husband does a good job.

  8. I once watched a raccoon perched on a beam, using one paw to tip a hummingbird feeder so that the liquid drained out onto the ground below, just so he could go down and lick up the sweet water. They’re very, very resourceful.

  9. Holy moly! They had a feast! I thought for sure this was going to have a happy ending with the plants on the deck. Very bold creatures you have there.


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