Last week I spent time in the garden weeding it for planting. There weren’t many weeds, because I cleaned up well last fall and laid down a good layer of compost. But it took me a while, crawling around, making little piles of weeds, and helped me think about planting this year.
Over the winter, I thought about how to shelter plants from rabbits and looked in gardening catalogues for more covers like the one I have been using for several seasons now. I decided buying more could be considered either 1) costly or 2) an investment.
As I thought further I realized that the little shapes were for small plantings, like the one sheltering my parsley, or individual plants. Last year the cloth cover on my growing tunnel saw its last season and I had saved the hoops, thinking I could get new cloth. Then it occurred to me that I could use them as supports for chicken wire. I bought a roll of the stuff for $14 and spent $20 more on a pair of good wire cutters. I was still under what I would have spent on the number of pretty chicken wire cloches and short row covers I calculated I would need.
So yesterday I went back to build some chicken wire covers for a whole row. One of the first things I did was manage my expectations. They would be functional, but not nearly as charming as the covers I could buy. I gave the garden a good hoeing and then got to work looping my wire hoops through the chicken wire lengths. At first I had thought I would weave the hoops through, but working with actual chicken wire made me realize the folly of this. I looped through in one place at the center of the wire.
By the time I had created a short and long row, I needed to get the seed packets I had chosen out and figure out what I was going to plant. I put some unsheltered arugula in near the parsley. The rabbits often don’t eat it if it’s peppery, but I’m taking a risk. Then I chose some beets, carrots and radishes to put under the chicken wire.
Then, overnight it rained. Perfect.