Like most everyone else, I have struggled with the mental highs and lows from this pandemic. Between this virus and everything else going on in the world...saying this has been a trying time is just skimming the surface.
When spring came I felt a little better because I knew I could escape to my back yard and grow all kinds of wonderful things. Everything has been doing very well. Until last week.
I grew a six foot long patch of sun flower seeds. They were looking so good. As I stood at my kitchen sink doing dishes I looked up and saw one stalk swaying all around. Upon further investigation it was a squirrel. He pulled it down and was eating it. I went out and chased him away and sprinkled red pepper flakes all over the ground to keep him from coming back.
The next day when I came home from work I noticed almost all of the stalks looked damaged. Then I watched as a squirrel climbed the fence to avoid the peppery soil and lunged to the sunflowers. I went out to see what the damage was and it was a mess. Sunflower seeds all over, flower heads pulled from the stocks. The sunflower patch was totaled.
While I was out there I noticed I had about 10 tomatoes growing with one tomato that was about ready to pick and about 15 jalapenos.
Then the next day I was doing dishes and saw a huge ground hog out there. I figured he was just cleaning up what was left of the sunflowers. I saw him chew up a very large leaf in about 30 seconds which I thought was pretty impressive. I let him be because he seemed to be doing a good job of cleaning up the sunflowers for me.
Big mistake. I went out to garden the next day to get the tomato and the peppers that should have been ready and they were gone. GONE! All of them GONE! I have been gardening for many years in Florida and then in Illinois. I have never had something eat my jalapenos. Our yard is fenced so whatever it was had to be able to fly, climb or crawl under the fence to get them.
It hasn't been a total loss. Basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, lettuce, arugula, bell peppers and tabasco peppers have all done well. Still, I want to know WTF ate my jalapenos?