Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Woodchuck fence

Stephane Mortier, part-time handyman and part-time computer whiz,, responded to my appeal for a 12-guage wire saying he had some, and offering to help me install my electric fence. I immediately hired him, and on Saturday he installed it. We bought it from Harbor Freight Tools at 441 Market Street in Saddlebrook, but Fred tells me that is a national chain, so you may find a source nearer to you. We did need the fence wire and holders, but had some left from our previous electric fence ages ago. When that battery wore out, we couldn't find a replacement. This unit is solar powered with a back-up rechargeable battery, so it's more promising. It cost $75 including a 3-year guarantee of replacement if anything goes wrong.

It needs to sit in the sun for 8 hours before it functions, so Stephane offered to come back Sunday and see if it is working. I wondered how he would do so. He touched it, shivered, and jumped, and decreed it functional. What courage! I touched my previous one just once accidentally and would not consider doing it intentionally.

No wonder woodchucks stay away! However, I also noticed where mine had been living, and Stephane also fenced that off on Saturday. I haven't seen any sign of a woodchuck or woodchuck damage since. I planted out small broccoli plants as a test. It doesn't like this cold weather, but it is getting no outside assault. It's time to plant out the collard seedlings I've been raising in my greenhouse window.

Meanwhile, the electric fence forced me to reconfigure my inner garden, since we needed to have more-or-less straight line borders, outside which the electric fence is strung. I noticed that a garden path in the new arrangement went right through my milkweed plant, which attracts butterflies. Trina said I could transplant it or pot it up to give away. When I attempted to transplant it, it fell apart. Apparently, it should have been separated long ago. I transplanted the largest piece, and put six more on the right side of my front steps for anyone who wants to take a milkweed plant. It's slightly different from Trina's, but she says it does do what monarch butterflies need.

Nobody picked up ANY celery or pak choi (L-R) Sunday or Monday, and I thought maybe I was going to soon commit mass seedlingcide, especially since the celery seedlings are beginning to look vaguely like celery plants, and won't be able to stay in their cradle for much longer. Someone did arrive yesterday, and I replaced these offerings. They hadn't done well with the lack of water and frozen soil, but those there now look inviting.

My Heritage raspberries are budding! So it's time to prune off the dead remainders of last fall's crop. This makes it much easier to go through the raspberry patch without losing my hat.

When I realized this, my internal Guilt Monster (surely some of you have one too) said to me, "If you had pruned two weeks ago, your life would have been much easier."
"But I couldn't see until now WHERE to prune." I now preserve all parts with buds and cut away the tops, which look convincingly dead. Anyway, the plants are healthy, and I should have a nice crop to share in a July Open Garden.


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