Gardening is a family affair. From sowing the seeds, to weeding, keeping the critters at bay, harvesting, preserving, and enjoying the fruits of your labor it is time the family spends together.
Our garden, this year, has been a place of learning for our children, a place to play as the children dodged wads of grass their siblings lobbed through the air and chased each other around, and just a fun time as I taught the kids songs from when I was a child to pass the time. Our first vegetable harvested were radishes which we enjoyed immediately. You know I can buy the best vegetables available in at the local market and my kids would not eat them as easily as they did those radishes from our garden that their hard work produced.
They are anxiously waiting for the lettuce, beets, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, tomatoes, strawberries and sunflowers we also planted; that is if we can keep those pesky squirrels away. We did not have the money for a fence around the garden this year so we have been trying every trick to keep the critters out. We have put moth balls around the garden (worked for a while), we sprayed the leaves with a Dawn and water solution (worked for a while), and the deer have broken through every string we put up.
My 8 year old son’s pride and joy was the Sunflowers he helped plant in the back and on the side of the garden. Over the weeks the critters have eaten the leaves of the entire back row and started on the interior of the garden. Feeling bad for my distraught son, who saw his hard work and final pay off disappearing with each night, I checked out a book from the library; it was a children’s storybook about missing sunflowers.
My son excitedly came down and announced, after reading the book, that we needed to put pepper on the leaves of the sunflowers and that it was squirrels eating the sunflowers. This made sense since one day when returning home there was a squirrel standing in the grass behind the garden nibbling away and staring me down; like I was invading his territory. So that very day we sprinkled pepper on the leaves of each plant in our garden. The next day not one plant was robbed of it’s leaves. My son jumped around in an almost victory jig. So now I have stocked up on ground pepper and we all look forward to harvest time again.