Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Trials and Tribulations of City Gardening

It's going to be a miracle if my garden actually manages to produce anything this year.

Certainly my lack of motivation is about half the problem. For some reason, planting carrots just wasn't high on my list of Fun Things To Do this spring.

But that's only half of it.

Then there are the neighbor's cats. Or the stray cats that have adopted my neighbors, because they set out food for them. They eat at the neighbor's house, then come on over to the giant litter box in my backyard to do their business. So far, they've dug up my cucumber seeds, my entire cold frame, half the beets, half a row of beans, and my second planting of lettuce. I go to all the work of fluffing up the soil to plant, and it would appear that freshly-fluffed soil appeals to cats in search of a pooping spot. Nice.

And of course, city gardening wouldn't be complete without wretched, Round-up wielding neighbors, would it? For the past three years no one has lived in the house behind us. Each year the weeds grow waist high, with no one coming along to even bother with mowing them down. The weeds go to seed, the seed blows through the fence, and gives me more work to do in the garden. For three years I've been fighting the good fight, though admittedly I've done my fair share of grumbling about it.

But no more. Oh no, the new renters will not let those weeds grow! Nope, instead, they'll spray them with Round-up, right up to (and through) the fence. "Never mind the poor girl on the other side of the fence doing her best to grow organic vegetables for her family to eat," they say. My spinach and turnip greens are now covered in yellow spots where the overspray landed on them. The tomato plants I've nurtured from seed for the past three months are riddled with dead spots.


Ahem. Please, excuse my outburst. But seriously, I'm peeved. I think I'd rather be out in the country, fending off deer and rabbits and raccoons.

As we speak, my sweet eight year old is out in the back yard, nose buried in Little Bear's Outdoor Adventure Guide for the All American Boy. She's studying the trap-building chapter with the intention of luring neighborhood cats into the backyard so that they can be trapped.

I sure hope it works.


Wendy said...

Adorable! Well, the part about setting the trap. That's terrible about the things you're contending with right now. :( I know this is just a small maybe solution, but to keep my cat from using my garden as a litter box, I put something over a freshly seeded bed - like bird netting or sticks, or some old decorative wire fencing. After the stuff starts coming in she tends to leave it alone. The whole thing is still annoying though.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Go, Chloe! ...and if that doesn't work, there's cayenne pepper... Good fences make good neighbors. Plastic tarping lining the fence adjoining the properties might be in order.