June 15

The Victory Garden Revisited

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Back at the time of WWII, families on the homefront were encouraged to plant a victory garden to provide for their own tables to leave more nutrition resources available for the men and women fighting the war. Everyone with even the tiniest square of backyard could plant greens and vegetables to help out.

An article that Mike added recently to the “in the News” feature on the home page gives us yet another reason to plant a victory garden–but this time, the point would be to achieve victory over diseases. Growing your own veggies (or buying organic produce from your local farmer’s market) will reduce your exposure to pesticides (not to mention fruit and vegetable waxes and shellacs and other toxins) and promote better health. Growing a pot of herbs, a tomato plant or two, a pepper, or a salad pot doesn’t take up much room and, if it’s sunny, can even be done in containers on the balcony or in the window of a small studio apartment.

And veggie gardens can even be good entertainment, as we recently found out.

I always maintain a pretty healthy culinary herb garden and we have several citrus and stone fruit trees, too. Each spring we set out some heirloom tomatoes and usually some peppers and baby greens.

At our house in Boulder, we had to install a deer fence to keep the indigenous livestock from eating everything we planted. At Santa Fe, we had a high, thick adobe wall that prevented much in the way of pesky animal traffic. Here, at our part-time place in Santa Barbara, there is a fence, but no wall. As a result, this year, the garden attracted the attention of a very cute, very small, brown bunny.

When we first spotted him, our granddaughter (who is 2 1/2 ) was visiting; naturally she wanted to pet him. I dutifully kept her at bay, telling her we must watch him from afar, because we didn’t want to scare him. We were having a high old time watching him hop about, when all at once he darted out of the daylilies and began to munch on the lower leaves of one of the tomato plants. I went flying across the yard, shouting “Get away from that tomato plant or I’ll make a stew out of you!” which confused our granddaughter completely, since this action didn’t seem to fit with the earlier proscription against scaring the bunny. She, of course, was hot on my heels, giggling and yelling “Nanny why did you call the bunny stupid?” which she’s been told is not nice. A sight nicer, however, than what I actually had said about his furry little self, but which necessitated an explanation that it’s not especially nice to threaten to make stew out of somebody either. Oh, the pitfalls of rearing intelligent children and grandchildren in a time of politically-correct-speak.

I suddenly find myself in the position of playing Mr. McGregor to his Peter Rabbit in a kinder, gentler world. I’m off to the garden store now to get a couple of tomato cages to protect what’s left. As our granddaughter said this morning, “We’ll put the tomato in a cage and say Stew You bunny!”


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  1. LOL…Dr. MD, what a great story!

    Our annual crop of Kamikaze (what I group-named the bunnies that frequent the property) insist on tempting fate and hiding in plain sight despite the fact that for the last eight years, my setters stalked them, my cocker flushes them up into the hills and my huntress cat actually dispatches at least three of the new baby bunnies each year. However, they leave my gardens alone because I plant marigolds in the growing area. I use dwarf french marigolds as an edging/border, even in the veggie garden, because they don’t take up too much space and only grow about 6 inches high.

    Just get the smallest, cheapest marigolds you can find, and plant them as the garden border, or get taller ones and plant them on the edges of your garden area…bunnies hate something about marigolds, and will avoid areas planted with them.

    And this time, I’ll type in the passcode (I swear, I didn’t see it before today on your blog, although I did see it on Dr. Mike’s page.)

    COMMENT from MD EADES: My dad and my grandmother planted marigolds for just that reason and until you brought it up, I had totally forgotten about it. I think, like geraniums, it’s the smell. Back to the garden store I go, since if my bunny is of the kamikaze breed, he’ll probably be able to outwit the tomato cage, too. Still, I’ll need them for staking as these babies grow tall and (I hope) hang heavy with giant yellow and red striped heirloom tomatoes.

  2. My bunnies leave the veggie garden alone, perhaps because we allow the clover to proliferate on the lawn and they are allowed all they can eat. However, they do decimate my shade gardens. All my rare Hostas, Cimicifuga racemosa, Trillium grandiflorum, Arisaema dragontium… are bunny food. My cat is too old- perhaps the bunny should be in the crock pot. But bunnies are too lean, are they not?

    😉
    COMMENT from MD EADES: Yes, it’s true they’re too lean to be our sole protein source, but there’s nothing to prevent our larding the meat and/or cooking them in butter and garlic. ;D

    PS: I rescued your comment from the junked comments file. We’ve just learned from the experience of other commentors that even if you type in the password (without which comments now automatically go the way of all spam comments, into the round file) if you then preview your comment and/or change anything, you have to re-enter the password. Sorry for the hassle, but we’re awash in spam comments and it gets ever harder to filter out the real ones to post. Thanks for posting.

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