Muffin is back…and garden prep

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Last summer my chipmunks made an appearance on the blog. There are quite a few that run around our yard, but one in particular is dear to my heart. Now that hibernation is over, I’m happy to report that Muffin the chipmunk is once again gracing our backyard and hungry as ever.

 Recently I spent a Saturday afternoon updating my gardening journal and planning out my summer garden. I started some seedlings several weeks ago in a SunBlaster Nano Dome Propagation kit, and soon they will be ready to transplant.

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As you might notice I do not have enough plants for six beds. In the past I’ve purchased seedlings from garden supply stores, however last summer I saved seeds from thriving plants to use again this year. Starting seeds indoors is a new practice for me, and this year was more experimental than anything. Unfortunately a few of my seedlings just didn’t make it, either due to fungus or not surviving the hardening process. I also didn’t use a heat mat, which is probably why my okra never sprouted. But that’s ok, it’s all part of the learning curve, and I can supplement my seedlings with store bought plants.

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I also used the afternoon to do a little soil prep. At the start of each new growing season, I add Bio-tone to my beds before planting. I’m not a 100% organic gardener, but I do try and have had good results with this product. For my purposes, I need about 3 cups for each bed, so I have an old plastic container with marked cup measurements that works perfectly for this. I just sprinkle on top and the work it into the soil with a pitchfork.

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Muffin kept me company during all this planning, and we’re back to the point where I can call for her, and *most* of the time she’ll make an appearance (as long as there are walnuts waiting for her). She is also quite comfortable eating out of my hand. I’m often asked if I’ve ever been bitten – yes, Muffin has bitten me maybe twice, but only because she mistook a finger for food. But she has never broken my skin or bitten me out of aggression, so we have remained friends.

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Unfortunately Muffin isn’t a sweetheart all of the time. Last week I had some heirloom summer squash seedlings that were ready to transplant, and didn’t last 24 hours in the garden before they were eaten. I will say it is quite depressing to start seeds indoors, watch them grow for weeks, and transplant them only to have them demolished a few hours later. Publicly I’m blaming the birds, but privately I do suspect it was a certain striped rodent.  So a forthcoming “chipmunk control” post is in the works!

 

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