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Kip Anderson
Gardener Kip Anderson

July: Expect the Unexpected

Kip shares his observations on rabbits' food preferences and prepares for fall harvest
by Kip Anderson

June was a difficult month here at the Victory Garden. We had many days of rain — days when it was impossible to get anything done in the garden — putting us two weeks behind schedule instead of the usual one week. And for some reason, it was a very good year for rabbits, but not so good for me, the gardener! I have learned a bit about rabbits' food preferences though. They will nibble a little lettuce now and then, but they will eat large broccoli leaves entire. When the bean seedlings emerged, however, they went straight for the first true leaves and defoliated every young shoot. Fortunately, the auxillary buds continue to produce new leaves, so there is still some hope for a crop — though certainly a delayed one.

I spent quite a bit of time I didn't really have plugging gaps under our vegetable garden fence with just about anything I could find, mainly bricks and boards. Later, when the season winds down, I will probably attach chicken wire to the base of the fence along the entire perimeter — some three hundred feet. It's peculiar how a pest that has never been a problem suddenly becomes one. I should have known to expect the unexpected.

For us, early July is the last call for sowing second crops of summer squash, cucumbers and (ha!) bush snap beans. Fall broccoli may be sown then in seed flats on raised benches — direct sowing in the ground is risky, for tender brassica seedlings are susceptible to a host of marauders, both large and small. Beets and carrots for fall harvest should be sown without delay, if this was not already done in late June. As I mentioned, we're a little slow getting things moving this season. And, of course, it's time to start another biweekly generation of lettuce.

The beds of annual flowers are just starting to hit their stride, filling out and filling in, and the perennial border is beginning to hum. I need to spend more time enjoying the aspects of gardening that are not so tediously demanding.

Kip Anderson has been the Victory Garden's head gardener for over 20 years.

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Published August 31, 2007