Our micro-farming has rewarded us with a bushy abundance of kale in a rail-mounted planter, once the squirrels decided it was too healthful for their tastes.
OUR HORTICULTURAL EFFORTS have met with meager results on our little piece of the rock — until now.
There is a real farm on Center Island, a 10-acre spread not far from our cabin. It is mostly idyllic pasture land dotted with groves of stately madronas and cedars, occupied by happily retired horses and pampered old chickens. Our friend Monique works wonders with her organic garden there and kindly shares occasional treats of cracking-good snap peas or tender crimson strawberries, as well as selling us beautiful brown or greenish-blue eggs, each marked in pencil with the date when laid by one of her “girls.” (It’s a special treat to fry up an egg jotted with “Easter” or “Mother’s Day.”)
Our rocky promontory doesn’t have soil suited to an in-the-ground garden. Efforts at growing vegetables in pots on our deck have mostly met with disappointment, stymied by our property’s limited sunlight (but oh, those gorgeous tall firs!). There were the long-pampered tomatoes that were just finally starting to ripen in September, only to be raided by deer so bold as to clamber on to our cedar deck. All they left behind were tragically denuded stalks — and the gardener’s tears.
But finally, we have success: Kale!
A yard-long planter hung from our deck railing and protected from deer by a strategically placed gate has yielded a nice little crop of vitamin-packed greens, thriving in our cool island climate.
Tonight we enjoyed the first harvest. We dined on Barbara’s delicious homemade pizza trimmed with kale, black olives, pineapple and vegan cheeses.
The only challenge to this horticultural endeavor came early on when a squirrel, hopping along the deck railing on its way to another felonious assault on our birdfeeder, paused to sample a few nibbles of baby kale. Happily, our homegrown greens apparently held no more appeal to the squirrel than they would to a finicky four-year-old of the human variety.
That’s fine with us. We’re ready to move beyond monoculture next year. Anybody know how squirrels feel about spinach?