Backyard Pea Massacre-G. Totten, Sioux Falls

Something massacred my trellised peas this week, just bit them off about mid-way up and took a bite out of every pod. The oddity is that they only went after the regular shelling variety–never touched the sugar snaps. My only thought is that it had to have been a squirrel running along the chain link, then down the trellis inside and at the top line of the protective poultry wire. The scene was pretty ugly, gnawed pods strewn here and there, and the vines thrown in all directions. Rabbits wouldn’t be so untidy. I’ve observed their eating habits, and they appear to just sit and chew, moving from plant to plant, keeping a low profile.

In fact, it looks like a bad year for my pea crop in general. Just harvested about a quart-sized bag full of the sugar snap peas, but they were all at the very top. Additional harvesting seems unlikely from the look of the vines, so I’ll pull them up and plant some Heavenly Blue morning glories.  At least I’ll have something nice to look at.   It appears that as with last year the Market will be my backup plan.  

Squirrels have become more of a nuisance than I remember. I’ve noticed bites out of things that rabbits just can’t get to, like the pot of basil on the patio table, and holes dug in pots of annuals around the yard. I have used rocks to discourage their digging with some success, and recently saw an idea that recommended using larger pieces of broken pots for this same purpose. I’ve actually had a hard time getting petunias to take off the past few seasons, and now wonder if it isn’t squirrels there also, digging them loose in the planters. They don’t actually uproot them, but they dry up and die all the same. I’m going to try the broken pottery trick and hope for better results.

The clover I seeded in last year seems to be working at keeping rabbits away. I now have three large patches, and am happy to say that I’ve seen bees there, as well. Although I’ve been going after weeds with every tool at my disposal, the clover patches aren’t unsightly at all. To me, they just look like large areas of ground cover.  Of course, I still protect my beans and peppers with poultry wire (why throw caution to the wind?), but I’ve observed rabbits gravitating to the clover and not hanging around the garden.

For a week or more I’ve also noticed yellowing daylily foliage in my own yard and in others around town. I’m going to access the county website to see if I can learn what may be causing this. As I mentioned in an earlier entry, mine really need dividing, but I don’t think that’s the issue. I hope to have the answer to share next week.

As for the ducks, they’ve left me. Last Saturday was their “due” date. I checked on momma duck around noon, and then went indoors to escape last Saturday’s heat and humidity. When I returned several hours later, they were gone.  At first I feared the crows had heard them and run the mother off the nest, but after contacting the Outdoor Campus staff again, I learned that ducks will leave with their new brood right away. There was nothing left but a pile of downy feathers and ten perfectly opened shells. It’s pretty amazing that a newly hatched creature could just get up and walk off like that, and so far! But apparently in the world of ducks, it’s the norm. I’m fairly certain they made it to their destination as Marion road was under construction all last week, and so the traffic was slow-moving, making it safer to cross, I hope. No duck disasters were reported in the media, so it appears that all went well.