Two years ago, finally tired of always losing the precious bounty of our fruit trees to wandering animals, we finally put a fence around a good portion of our backyard. We had three fruit trees—an apple tree and two pear trees—but cordoned off an area large enough to accommodate four more fruit trees and three large raised vegetable beds. Then we planted fig, giant peach, nectarine, and apricot trees. In the newly-built vegetable beds, we planted tomatoes, eggplant, strawberries, sweet peppers, different varieties of hot peppers, and a bunch of herbs. I felt so … organic. And I was filled with hope for a season of homegrown produce.
But where I live, trying to grow your own produce in the backyard is a constant battle against airborne diseases and critters. Critters so brazen that one afternoon, I saw a chipmunk roll a half-eaten baby apple onto my porch, on its way to stashing it elsewhere. I tried to stare it down to let it know who was the boss, but it simply shrugged and went along its merry way. Cuteness aside, those little buggers are r-u-d-e.
We also have to contend with deer, who not only gorge themselves on our fruit trees, but also help themselves to my rose buds. It’s the reason I refuse to ever watch Bambi.
And the groundhogs. Oh, those nasty things. They dig holes under the fence, and climb up into my vegetable beds. Last year, I looked out my bedroom window to see one standing on its legs, happily munching on a tomato, looking around like it owned the place. There was nothing left for me to do but hope that the tomatoes gave it some serious acid reflux.
We’ve been trying all sorts of things: netting around the beds, canopies over the trees … nothing seems to work. So this year, we simply gave up. No vegetable bed plantings this year, and the most we’ll be doing is grow two pots of Scotch Bonnet peppers on our deck. Where we can watch over them more closely. I figured we’d take a break from the annual battle for a change.
But when I walked around our backyard a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but feel the same thrill I always get when I see fruit on the trees. There’s just something about growing your own fruits and vegetables that excites me and makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing, doing what should come naturally to us.
The baby peach looked so cute with its baby hairs.
The critters took off with the tags for these trees, but I’m fairly sure these are little nectarine and plum fruits. I’ll have to wait a bit longer to be sure.
And of course, there were other pretty things to photograph in the backyard. Pretty vines crawling up the oak tree …
Pretty flowers from last year’s deck box planting …
And pretty flowers from my resilient chive plant.
And of course, pretty weeds.
Those, I have no trouble growing. Absolutely no trouble at all.
P.S. If you have any suggestions on how to win the battle against the critters, diseases, and weeds, we’d gladly take those buggers on again.