My ugly Fort Knox garden

An old  friend of mine was visiting me last week from South Carolina. We were walking around my yard and she said

“What is that?  You have a chicken coop?”

“Um, no, it is my garden.”

So I took her over to look at it, and she said “what are these tomato’s ending up costing you? $60 a pound?”

I said “pretty much!”

See, I had always imagined having a cute little garden surrounded by a white picket fence   I found a perfect spot in my yard, and created my dream garden.  I knew we had squirrels so I put a perimeter concrete footing 6″ down to keep them from coming in.  To keep the rabbits out, I put chicken wire all along the inside.  These pictures are from 1999,  sorry for the poor quality.

Garden with white picket fencewhite picket fence garden

Cute huh?  I even planted those daisy’s around the outside of the garden to ward off bugs (something my brother told me to do)  Boy, was ever naive to the creatures of  the wild.  Duh!  Squirrels can climb over a short little white picket fence!  Oh and don’t forget about the gazillion birds we have flying around. Did I mention we have a family of racoons that like to romp in my garden?  Yeah, they like fresh vegetables.  So after many years of dealing with all the different animals that were munching on my garden, it now looks like this.
Garden with lots of netting
What I call my Fort Knox garden. I have spent a fortune over the years on keeping creatures out.  Gave up pretty for ugly just to grow some vegetables.  Look how you can hardly see my cute little white picket fence, not what I had envisioned.

Netting for garden

I have the ugly green plastic around the whole perimeter to keep the squirrels and other animals out, and then I had to put smaller black netting in front of that to keep the birds out.  {there are small birds around here that could fit through those green holes!}  Then to top it off, I had to put more netting on the top for the bigger birds!

Netting for garden

This is not the picture I had in mind when I decided I wanted a garden.  Last year I added the raised garden beds because I have a bad back.  It was killing me to bend over and weed and pick my vegetables.  Plus I was having an issue with snails.

Raised garden bed
Yeah, well, snails don’t just slither on the ground, they can go up the sides of a box.  Oh well, at least it is easier on my back.  This whole gardening thing is starting to get old.  After giving up my dream design, and adding all that ugly netting, in hopes of having a fruitful garden, I still have issues.  Bug and worm issues.

Last night I found 8 of these gross tomato worms!  I caught this one in the act…

Tomato worm

Let’s just say he didn’t last long… But seriously?  What in the {bleep} more can one person do just to grow a couple of vegetables?  It is wearing me and my pocketbook out.  How in the world do farmers do it?

So far my other vegetables are doing well.  This year I scaled back and only planted tomatoes, summer lettuce and two varieties of cucumbers…

cucumber plant

lettuce in gardencucumber plant

It looks like it is going to be another up hill battle this summer keeping up with those worms.  I just hope I get a tomato or two out of this whole mess, there isn’t anything better than bruchetta with a fresh home grown tomato.  Any one have any suggestions on what they do to combat these tomato worms?  I am open to all suggestions and tricks you might have!

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  1. Wow, I’ve never seen such bugs around here!  You may want to check with your county agricultural agent.  They may have some great, area specific ways to counter the pest.  🙂

    • palmettogirl says:

      Those are horn worms. They can eat a plant in one day! One thing you might try to get your picket fence back is to make pvc hoops over the individual beds and hang netting over those instead of the whole thing. I just stick some little stakes in the ground and put one end of pvc over and then bend to other stake. I’ve found the squirrels can’t get into the netting. Not sure about racoons(they have people hands….lol).I have raised beds too. Maybe Neem oil, if you don’t want to use pesticides…good luck =)

  2. oh no WAY!  At first I was insulted about your reference to Ft Knox (right down the road from me)   Just kidding!
    but the picket fence had me saying awwww
    BUT uh oh!  when I saw YOUR ft knox, I almost fell off the couch!  I’m sorry girl, but THAT is a hoot!  I can’t believe you’ve gone to such lengths to grow some veggies!  You are nothing if NOT persistent!  
    I have no advice. I don’t EAT veggies, let alone try to GROW them! hahaha
    Great post stephanie!    Good LUCK!

    • What you don’t eat veggies? That is not good. I hope I didn’t insult Fort Knox! I guess my title of my post kind of sound like it could be insulting, glad you found humor in my dilemma LOL

      • My cousin replied to this post on  my fb page :
        Gail really really doesn’t eat veggies! You’re going to hate hearing what I do with those big ugly worms….I let the birds come into the garden all the time because they eat the little buggers!! I net strawberries as they ripen but most of the time birds leave the other things alone. I also use cedar mulch to help ward off snails. And I agree, how do farmers do it

  3. Very interesting!  We’ve dealt with similar issues in our yard!  Rabbits were a huge problem.  We had to weave chicken wire in between the fence and such.  Now, we deal with chipmunks mostly.  At least you found a way to have a garden!!

  4. Jamie Wilson says:

    i have no idea how to garden, but i agree with my mom – your garden is a hoot! 🙂

    good luck with it, stephanie!!!

  5. Hahaha too funny that she though it was a chicken coop! I love your garden! I am so impressed actually! Great planter boxes.  You should ask my Dad about the worms..I dont have a clue but I bet he would know!

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