|Bandi the "Ninja Turtle"|
...and now for the next chapter in the riveting Sacramento Vegetable Garden miniseries that is "That Damn Dog!"
Starring: That Damn Dog!
Acclimating said dog with garden is proving to be a challenge -- as many gardeners suggested it would. Bandi the Bandana Girl is -- after all -- just a six or seven month old mutt pup of an adorable dog (who can resist that face?) -- and puppies are just full of non-stop energy.
Having kids around the house helps drain some of that pent-up energy -- but they're not around 24-7 -- so That Damn Dog has been known to put her paws to good use around the yard.
The damage hasn't been all that extensive to be honest -- although she did particulary enjoy that Incrediball Hydrangea that had been growing extremely well in a tucked away corner against the home near the berry plantings. Flowers -- stems -- even the roots -- made for a tasty meal. All Bill and Venus Bird discovered was a gaping hole.
That Damn Dog...
Still -- she hasn't been quite the disaster that some had predicted either. Despite an overwhelming selection of raised beds filled with loose soil -- she has resisted the urge so far to "dig, dig, dig." My fear that this damn dog would develop a love for all things ripened tomatoes hasn't come to fruition -- and I forgave her for picking that underdeveloped cantaloupe. I must admit -- it looked like one of her play toy softballs.
But where Bill & Venus Bird are drawing the absolute line is right here to your left -- our O'Henry Peach tree -- which is positively loaded with a large crop of what I hope will be very tasty peaches. This counts as the third year for this tree -- and Venus and I culled it quite a bit during the spring and early summer to keep the crop small and manageable.
Not only does culling the fruit cut down on the stress placed on the tree itself -- it also seems to aid in actual tree growth. Venus and I trimmed said tree for the first time last winter -- and sure enough -- the O'Henry responded with three new shoots for every trim cut that we made.
|June Pride Peach|
It's hard to tell just how extensive the new growth is in these photos -- however -- because Venus and I have already netted the tree against marauding bird and possible raids by that damn dog. The birds really went to town on the June Pride Peach tree earlier this year and we were not prepared for the onslaught. In past years -- birds have helped themselves to about 10% of the crop -- which is a manageable number for us.
This year however? The birds showed up in greater numbers and started feasting away on what I must admit was a rather poor showing from the June Pride peach this year. The June Pride normally produces baseball sized fruit that ripens during the last week of June and the first week of July. But this year? Not only was the harvest late -- most of the peaches were plum sized.
|O'Henry Peaches Protected by Netting|
While I was willing to wait for tree ripened fruit -- our fine feather friends were not. I simply wasn't prepared for the type of damage they would eventually inflict. I probably lost anywhere from 50%-60% of the crop to birds that settled in for the feast -- and I was bound and determined to not let the same thing happen with the O'Henry crop.
Thus -- the addition of the bird netting -- which also keeps a curious dog at bay. She hasn't made the connection yet that the tree holds a similar bounty to the old June Pride peach pits that I have allowed her to chew on from time to time (if the pits keep her interest away from the melon crop located nearby -- I consider this a *win*).
|The O'Henry Peach|
Although most of this year's fruit harvests have been somewhat disappointing -- which also involves losing trees to blight and freeze -- our fortunes appear to have turned with the impending O'Henry Peach harvest. The tree is finally large enough to support a somewhat moderate harvest (peach pie/cobbler anyone?) -- and the peaches are finally growing into true "O'Henry size."
Yeah. They're the size of beach balls. Bill Bird likes big peaches.