May 9, 2016

Tomato, Broccoli and Brussels Sprout Seedlings Planted in the Garden

A tomato plant nipped at the stem, most likely by birds.
The tomatoes, broccoli, and Brussels sprout were planted in the garden on May 5th and 6th. And immediately birds and animals started doing their thing. So far I've lost 17 plants: one Brussel sprout, 6 tomatoes, and 10 broccoli. Maybe it's a good thing I started so many plants from seed to begin with.
These are the 3 tomato beds. In the back I hung aluminum pans from the bamboo trellises in an effort to ward off critters with noise and reflected light.  But yet the devastation continued.
A broccoli bed on the right and Brussels sprout bed on the left. I've been replacing the plants as they get destroyed and today I went and bought a bunch of pinwheels and stuck them around the beds. If this doesn't help, they'll have to be covered with Agribon row cover till the plants are big enough to withstand larger animals.
The 21 broccoli plants were spaced 2 feet apart (0.6 meters). I was reading a garden forum and they talked about spacing broccoli a foot apart which resulted in more main heads but little side shoot production. I might try that for fall planting and see how that goes.

21 Brussels sprouts also got planted with the same two foot spacing. Online they were saying sprouts need to be spaced 3 feet apart which sounds like a lot to me. I just can't imagine them needing more space than broccoli plants.

There are 6 rows of tomatoes with plants 18 inches apart within each row and rows are 2 feet apart. I did a major goof, after planting half of the first bed I realized I'd forgotten to add crushed eggshells and coffee grounds to the planting holes. So those tomatoes weren't amended. I'll also be top dressing with epsom salt.

I was talking to a friend who actually farms on shared family farm. Last week every single one of his tomato plants were eaten down to the nub by deer. He had to replant them all. And then he strung up an electric fence.


Lexa said...

So very sorry to see so much of your garden getting destroyed! You have grown such beautiful seedlings too. Hopefully the birds will get scared by your diversions you have set up. You are planting an amazing, large garden and it will be fun to watch as it mature this Summer. Enjoy your week!

norma chang said...

So heartbreaking when critters decide to make meals out of ones seedlings. I too cannot understand why brussels sprouts needed to be spaced 3 feet apart, what did the seed package recommend?

Phuong said...

Hi Lexa,
The pinwheels seem to be working somewhat, I came home to only one eaten tomato plant instead of 5. I'm really looking forward to see what this summer brings.

Your lettuce beds are looking fantastic, you have a wonderful variety of greens growing.

Phuong said...

Hi Norma,
I wish the plants would get bigger faster, so the birds will start leaving them alone. I was looking at the Brussels sprout seed packets and one said 24 to 30 inches apart and the other one said 1.5 to 3 feet apart, so there's a wide range that the seed companies suggest themselves. Strange.

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

That is a shame about something eating all your plants! We had to put a fence around our garden to keep deep, rabbits and groundhogs out. Birds still get a few things, but not too many. In the past I have made little mini-cages out of chicken wire. That at least let the plants get bigger without being attacked.

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
We're planning to put a fence up in a month. I've never seen so many free roaming dogs and cats in my life. I'll definitely have to use floating row covers once the peppers and eggplant get planted in the garden, since they're so much smaller than the tomatoes their population will be more easily decimated.

Do you have to use a double fence to keep the deer out or do you run an electrified wire? I'm very lucky I don't have to contend with deer in town. When the plants get big the little critters will start to leave the garden alone.

David Velten said...

It's disappointing to lose plants like that after all the hard work. Are you sure it is birds? I have only seen a bird once. It was dive bombing plants, but not in my plot. We have an 8-foot fence around the community garden with plastic deer fencing for the top and coated chicken wire around the bottom, buried 2 feet down to prevent tunneling.

Phuong said...

Hi David,
I always blame birds because they're around pecking, although I've seen squirrels and the little holes they leave. At our old house there weren't any squirrels because of the local Hawks but there were tons and tons of birds that pecked the plants to death.

Your plants are looking good. I had to re-sow peppers too, and they are still tiny. When do you normally start planting your warm weather crops?