I don’t think I’ll be harvesting much lettuce

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The plants in my community garden plot are kind of a mixed bag. On the plus side, the soil is a really good starting medium. I’ve got lots of tiny turnip sprouts and cilantro sprouts, and burgeoning daikon sprouts. I sowed some old parsnip and carrot seed, not expecting anything to come up (those are reputed not to last more than a few years) and lots of parsnips and some carrots have sprouted. I even have some identifiable squash sprouts, (Zephry and Cousa) as opposed to the various mystery squash I have harbored. The tomatoes are setting fruit, as well as a pepper plant, and the eggplants are flowering in purple.

On the downside, some of the plants seem to be struggling. The turnip sprouts remain tiny. The tomatoes look scraggly. Lots of plants have yellow leaves, suggesting that they’re not getting enough nutrition from the soil. I brought in some compost from home and that seems to be helping, but there’s a big problem that’s not so easily fixed: woodchucks.

I’ve never seen woodchucks in my yard, (Thanks, Pasha!) but several people have reported seeing them. Lots of greenery has been chomped, including all my lettuces. In the last weeks, just about every tactic suggested has been deployed against them. Gardeners have brought in their dogs for a walk. Some have fenced in their plots and/or spread fur clippings around the sides. Others have evidently — by the stink — sprayed on a repellent based on rotten-egg. I can’t tell which ones are using chili pepper soap, but I’m sure that’s in there too.

I don’t know if I’m being naive or ghoulish, but I’m counting on the other wildlife to see the situation as an opportunity. The garden is across the street from Mt. Auburn cemetery, where coyotes are said to pass through at night. During the day, a local hawk circles in the sky, or perches on a treetop.

Go, Wiley! Go, Red Tail! Get that woodchuck!