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How Does Your Garden Grow?
In Massachusetts

I haven't been gardening very long, and never very well, although I have friends who are ambitious and successful gardeners. I have a particular friend who has acres of gardens and serves salads with home grown everything (see Katey's Super Salad on page 3). Her flowers thrive, her vegetables are succulent and plentiful, cultivated things and wild things grow flagrantly and fragrantly side-by-side. She's the kind of person who pulls asparagus from the ground, dusts it off on her jeans, and hands it to you to eat -- and it's delicious! Her solution to things attacking her garden has been to plant three gardens -- one for the animals to eat, one for her husband to mow down, and a third for her own use.

I never had enough room to plant three gardens (and never had enough energy either) but I did stumble on a couple of successful strategies in my desperate battle with deer who ate the lilies and groundhogs who ate everything else. I found that gardener's net was a terrific way to protect vegetables. I used fencing posts to anchor the net at four points, I anchored the net at ground level, too, but it was easy for the gardener to lift up and get under. The groundhog used to sit by the hour looking at the garden through the net -- I could see him from inside the house -- and even though he never got anything to eat, he never lost hope. I also learned that dried blood sprinkled around the perimeter of the garden will discourage most animals (except I noticed the cat didn't mind it). I used the dried blood around flower beds and it was successful -- except for the deer who would come just as the lilies bloomed and devour the blossoms. I discovered Melorganite (actually a fertilizer of composted sewer sludge) was pretty effective as a deer deterrent.

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