Beasts are eating my Beets!
I have now bought chicken wire to protect my beets in the bed, but in the meantime I decided to plant some of the seedlings in the newly obtained galvanized water tub. In the space of just over one week, I have transplanted over 30 seedlings because SOMETHING IS EATING THEM! Tuesday I happily put in a couple (one row of four) and mulched them with shredded coir from their seed flat. Not so bad.
Wednesday I finished filling the rest of the tub for a total of 21 (ok so I don’t do math well when it comes to planting in rows). Thursday, although a crappy day in the work world, I was able to come home and be cheered that my tub of beets was looking like they were going to be quite happy in their tub. I had been a bit worried as much of the literature I’d read stated that beets did not transplant well and were better off with direct-seeding.
Saturday was market day - I was up bright and cheery and trundled out to check out the seedlings and … GONE! 3 of them were gone and a hole had been dug in the tub. With insufficient time before I had to get going, I grumbled out the door and spent a great deal of the day wishing I were home to replace the missing seedlings. I swear it was the work of the scrawny little grey squirrel that had scampered off the porch when I opened the door.
Back home and even more were gone. Leaves were munched right off, leaving forlorn little stems. This has continued throughout the week. I go to bed with a nicely mulched and watered tub of beetlings and wake to missing beetlings. Once there was a total of 10 missing – that’s half my tub! One or two were even pulled right out! Last night I resorted to shaking cayenne pepper over them to deter at least the furry critters (possibly the skunk who wandered by whilst I was planting the second or third batch, or the bunny that walked by me into the backyard or the squirrel) if not the insect-types.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the beetlings are waiting patiently in their flat, not three feet away – untouched. It seems that I may never get them into the bed if I keep having to replace the ones in the tub… Is it worth it? Well some of them seem to be thriving! I am going to continue with the cayenne (it rained today so I had to not only replace the 4 missing seedlings, but re-sprinkle) and re-planting. I think I only have another month / month-and-a-half of growing weather. Hoping that I’ll have SOME beets to eat. Even if they’re small.
Aside: My transplanted rhubarb has sent up a few new leaves and is looking quite happy in its semi-shady spot on the edge of the patio, despite the inevitable little holes dug by unknown critter. Based on the bird poop, it appears the bird population doesn’t mind another place to hang out either.