The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.


Blush of color on a strawberry

While we were gone on our honeymoon last fall, our deterrents got stuck and the deer ate the recently transplanted strawberries down to the ground.  This spring, the plants grew so slowly, I lost faith.  After seeing the size of my father's plants a zone or two south in April, I figured our measly plants wouldn't give much of any strawberry harvest this year.

Then came warm weather, and our strawberry plants grew like crazy.  Before I knew it, they were big and blooming, then the little fruits started to swell.  And now the first strawberry is blushing pink!  Maybe we'll be eating luscious strawberries by the end of the week. 

Homegrown strawberries are a lot like homegrown tomatoes --- once you eat one, you'll never touch storebought again.  No, I won't share.  Plant your own!

Our homemade chicken waterers stood the test of the honeymoon much better --- we came home to hydrated chickens who hadn't missed us at all.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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We have yet to find anyone who can take care of our place while were gone on vacation. When we get back home from vacation something is always wrong, like the refrigerator door is left open, they used all of the chicken feed and then started to use dog food for the chickens, the front door was left unlocked and wide open, they didn't give the cat its medication, and the list goes on. The only thing I can think of is for you to come to my homestead and watch our place while we go on vacation and I can do the same for you.
Comment by zimmy Sun May 9 11:06:47 2010

Wow! That's quite a string of mishaps! I have really, really low standards for care of the farm while I'm gone --- if I come home and nothing burned down and every animal is alive, I'm happy. :-)

I like your idea of farm swapping --- we may have to try that some time!!

Comment by anna Sun May 9 11:32:43 2010

For small plants like strawberries it would be quite simple to make a rectangular cuboid with a wooden frame and covered with chickenwire. Place it over your strawberry plants and fasten it to the ground with some stakes, and no deer or other animals will eat your strawberries!

A deluxe version might have hinged roof lockable with a latch so it is easier for you to pick the strawberries.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun May 9 12:35:09 2010
The problem with deer is that, when they get hungry, they eat anything. Strawberries are their very favorites, but once they eat those they move on to the greens, the broccoli, the peas, the beans, the corn, the sunflowers. After they've eaten all that, they start eating the things folks say deer won't touch --- tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic. In the end, you just have to protect the whole garden, or you're out of luck!
Comment by anna Sun May 9 17:57:12 2010

It seems to me that it might be easier to make individual enclosures for plots than to put a huge fence around your whole garden. Plus, the enclosures will keep out other animals than just deer.

Maybe you should invest in a greenhouse to grow the really tasty stuff? It might give you a longer growing season as well.

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon May 10 13:01:41 2010
We haven't talked about it much here, but five of Mark's contraptions seem to keep the garden perfectly protected (as long as we're around to troubleshoot them, which we almost always are.) They're the least work of all!
Comment by anna Mon May 10 13:12:24 2010

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