I've been working at the blasted wasteland that is our backyard, and changing it from what Brendon calls the "dog habitat" into a garden. There were enemies above and below the ground. Below the soil lurked cut worm that killed everything I planted. Plants that survived the cut worm were chewed, dug up, peed upon, stepped, rolled or sat upon by Anna and Pippin.
I dealt with the cutworm by putting out some poison - which I will never, ever do again. Pippin decided that bright blue pellets must be a special treat, and pushed his nose past the fence. I don't think he actually ate any but he spent the rest of the evening being forced to drink vast amounts of his absolute favourite - yoghurt (I had no milk) and being allowed to sleep in our bedroom - a previously unheard of liberty. He was perfectly fine, and I learnt my lesson.
Below are some before pictures. As you can see, the fences are terrible, but they do the job.
About a month later, and all the plants are still surviving:
Can you see the top part of a buried bottle in each "after" picture?
This is a technique I learnt from Richard and Katherine; deep watering with a sunken bottle. The bottle has some small holes, and the water drains out below the surface of the soil, minimising water loss through evaporation. We've had lots of rain so far this spring, but the sun is already fierce. I'm still figuring out if its better to keep the lid on or not.
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