1) Quick – except for waiting all summer for the good stuff to arrive, it’s *really* quick. If you only want radishes and carrots you can get faster results, but I had my eyes on larger prizes. I’m hoping that I won’t need to wear a parka to get in the last of the crop – okra is just now starting to produce in any kind of volume. The tomatoes have really been dragging along, but finally now we’re getting some of them from the vines. Of course, the wet spring was no help – had to wait until the Ohio River receded from my yard before I could plant.
2/3) Easy, Cheap – I think I might have mentioned in passing about all the soil preparation that was necessary, including moving numerous trailer loads of pricey topsoil into the intended area of plant growth. Then, as things were starting to really come up I discovered that Bugs Bunny and friends were working the buffet line out there. Many of my okra plants were nibbled to the ground (they mostly recovered, but they are stunted). So, I figured a modest fencing effort (much like what they used in “Escape from New York”) would do the trick. That fence went in pretty easily, I must admit. I put an electronic lock on the gate so that the bunnies and other wildlife would have to punch in a code to gain entrance. So far that’s keeping out the “non-climbing” pests. Recently I found that my corn stalks were being cut down and the ears devoured – the neighbors said, “Oh, I see you have raccoons!” As it happened, we attended a rural church last Sunday where Kate is filling in as pianist, and I was asking advice from the farmer types there regarding control of the furry bandits that were visiting my garden. One kindly old lady said, “It couldn’t be simpler – set out traps, then next morning you blow them away with a shotgun!” Well, I was wondering whatever happened to Ma Barker. I did some reading, found out that electric fences work – a couple of strands 6″ and 12″ off the ground should do the trick. After checking prices at our local Tractor Supply store I came to the conclusion that it was going to cost me about $8.50 per ear of corn to protect the remaining part of my crop. I went out and pulled up the corn, threw it over the garden fence. We’ll worry about electrification *next* summer.
Another small expense: asbestos-soled shoes. It’s kinda like working in a blast furnace out there while you’re trying to harvest, weed, whatever. Blazing sun, high humidity, sweat running into your eyes… now, *why* was it I wanted to have a garden?
I actually do like gardening, I just have to re-adjust to the various costs of the endeavor. I am *loving* the okra, and you know what? I don’t care if it *does* cost $38 for each batch of gumbo I make – it’s good stuff!
Come see us, we’ll share with ya!