Monthly Archives: January 2013

Lessons from 2012 – Rabbits Bad, Fertilizer Good

The seed catalogues have arrived and I’ve starting thinking about this year’s garden. Now’s the time to reflect on the 2012 garden to recall what worked and what didn’t.

In upcoming posts I’ll focus on the specific plants that grew well and those that I won’t bother with this year.

As I think back on last year, there were two big lessons that I learned: 1) rabbits are bad and, 2) fertilizer is good!

rabbitThe rabbits last year were ridiculous – they ate everything except garlic. The onion crop was filled with small bulbs because the rabbits kept eating the leaves. A new rose bush was defoliated in one night thanks to these rodents. A female rabbit gave birth to three kits in a pot of peppers. And I just noticed that a tree peony has all of its flower buds chewed off – one guess what ate them.

The only thing that worked to control the rabbits was chicken wire. This coming year I’m planning to be much more aggressive in protecting plants and dealing with damage before it gets too bad.

The second lesson has to do with fertilizer. I learned to fertilized back in the ’60s using inorganic 10-10-10 fertilizer. I knew how much fertilizer to use and I sprinkled it on the soil accordingly.

But I don’t use 10-10-10 anymore – I use an organic fertilizer, something more like 4-3-3. With this kind of NPK ratio, I need to use a lot more of it.

032I learned this lesson in the asparagus bed. The yield for the past few years hadn’t been very good and I thought the plants might be getting old. But I’d also read that asparagus needs a lot of fertilizer. So before replacing the bed, I decided to give fertilizing a try. After the harvest I followed the instructions on the fertilizer  package and put a lot more of the product on the asparagus than I had ever done in the past. It felt like I was using too much. But lo and behold, the asparagus plants looked the best they’ve ever looked. This spring will be the true test but I’m expecting the harvest to be a good one.

So this coming year I plan to be more intentional in my fertilizing and to follow the instructions for application rather than just go by what I think should be the right amount.

Two simple lessons – rabbits bad, fertilizer good. I can incorporate these lessons into this year’s garden plans.