by Charlene Burgi
As we approach the new year, it is a good time for reflection. I tend to look back every year to see what worked in the garden, and what didn't. Could something be done better or with a different approach? In a nutshell, here’s what stands out:
The word “abundance” best summarizes this past year’s events—though not always in a positive sense. The garden did not fare well due to an abundance of wildlife that searched for food in a drought-stricken land. And didn't we all have an abundance of dry weather to contend with!
| Gopher run
The drought drove squirrels, cottontails, jackrabbits, and birds to devour the majority of the fruits and vegetables planted in the garden. Gophers contributed to the underground mix and destroyed many of the ornamental shrubs. Yes, their abundant presence laid waste to most living things in the plant kingdom.
Thankfully, we saw a break in the long drought and are now experiencing an abundance of rain that is being soaked up by a parched land. Creeks that once stood dry are bubbling over in excess. In a few short weeks, Marin’s reservoirs went from below average to full. This is a huge relief to all concerned. A big thank you is due to all of you for conserving during these dry years. Keep up the great work—we never know how much rain the next year will bring!
Looking back on this year, what didn't work for me is an unprotected garden. A different approach for the new year would be to build a room of wire mesh for the berries. The garden could be set within a six-foot wire fence with electrical tape around the base to keep rabbits from digging under the ground. Perhaps raised boxes will be needed to keep the gophers from destroying root systems. The beautiful Euonymus alatus
that I shared pictures of this fall were found laying on their side with nothing left but a stump where roots once thrived. Would the old Italian method of burying fish heads in the gopher runs drive the critters out? Time will tell on that one!
The year 2015 promises an abundance of work ahead, since this rethinking process finds the honey-do list growing by leaps and bounds. First on the list is to start with pruning fruit trees, which we can review next week!
Meanwhile, have a very happy, healthy new year.