Chuck has met his match.
They are both God’s creatures, I know, but they belong in the wild, not my vegetable garden. In the immortal words of Marie Antoinette, “Let them eat bark. Or nuts. Or whatever God put out there for you to nibble on.”
A few months ago, as I was starting my annual delusion about having a garden the envy of Bird’s Eye, I laid down the gauntlet to these critters who had made my gardening life miserable. Confidently, I planted peas and baby spinach, enclosing the garden in chicken wire and netting.
Everything grew. Within a week or so, I had pea sprouts and the spinach had managed to throw a few leaves. Then suddenly, everything was gone, bitten down to the quick. I suspected bugs had gotten the peas, and because the netting had blown away, Chuck had managed to get his Popeye MDR for a few weeks.
It was still early enough in the growing season that I could start more seeds, but, really, wasn’t it pointless? Yes, the local wildlife was sleek and happy and I still had my garlic (which no animal has yet to disturb) and some nice blackberries. So why bother with anything else? Because I’m stubborn.
At this point several green things began popping up from an area of the garden where we had dug in a bunch of compost. About seven or eight plants had managed to rise, phoenix like, from the barren ground. Tomatoes! Now I’m sure if I’d tried to grow tomatoes from seed, I’d still be waiting. But these “volunteers,” as we call them, had a determination matching my own. They are now at the point where I had to stake them and some are blooming.
Tending to my tomato patch one day, I thought there must be some easier way of gardening. Something that was up and out of the way of the animal epicures and that didn’t take its toll on my knees and back. “I wonder,” I said, “if there’s any such thing as a table top garden.”
Ah, the wonderful Internet. I went in the house, Googled “table top garden” and immediately had a score of hits. Yes! I was already making plans for a winter woodworking project. (No, not me. I need all my fingers and thumbs.) Then in the garage I spied a huge plastic tub, a leftover from my aborted experiment with raising red worms. It was big. It had holes. It was perfect. I dashed to Home Depot for a couple bags of potting soil and some more seeds. In fifteen minutes, I had me a mini-garden. The best part was that on my way up the drive, I spied an old wooden pool platform left by the previous owners and pretty much ignored by us for years. We end-over-ended it to the garden area, plopped the plastic tub on top and SHAZAM! My very own table top garden. Take that, Chuck and Chip!
There were now concerns, naturally, about Bambi, so at night, I put the plastic lid on the tub, at least until the plants reached the top. Then all it took was netting. Ka-ching!
We’re going to have some cukes, some green beans, some peas, and even flowers, because I need them, too. My knees and back feel great, and thanks to my volunteer army, we’ll be enjoying some steaming bowls of tomato soup come winter.