Sarah Stultz: Deer, mud and hungry mosquitoes, oh my!

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

My garden and I aren’t getting along this year.

A few days ago I was almost to the point of throwing in the towel.

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Between the excessive rain that has led to extensive weeds, the deer that were destroying my plants and the reemergence of the squash bugs, it’s probably safe to say this has been my most challenging garden season yet. Oh, did I forget the mosquitoes?

Earlier this summer when my parents were visiting from out of town, we decided to put up a fence to keep the deer out after a challenging first couple weeks. The deer population seems to have exploded the last couple years, and it’s disheartening to see all your hard work go down the drain when the deer come along.

Though I really didn’t want to spend the money to buy the supplies, I went ahead and bought the metal posts and the fencing, and together with help from my dad, a few other friends and another gardener, we got the fence up.

Despite one of the metal posts getting snapped about a week later, and the fence falling in on one side, it has been smooth sailing on the deer front until this last weekend when I stopped by and noticed deer prints all over the garden and many of my plants chewed down.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I let out an audible gasp as I saw the destruction from the outside of the fence because it was too muddy to actually enter the garden.

While my garden has not been totally submerged in water like some others have been at the community garden plot, the ground is definitely saturated. Every day I venture out there, my shoes come out caked with at least an inch of mud on the bottom.

I’d love to see at least three dry days in a row to dry it out a little — but it seems like Mother Nature has had other plans.

To make matters worse, a few feet away for the last few weeks has been a large pond of water that collected from the rainstorms, and though I know the mosquitoes have been a struggle all over town this year because of the rain, it seems like the garden is ground zero for repopulating — that’s how many are out there!

Even with bug spray, I return home with multiple bites that plague me for a few days at a time.

The whole scenario exhausts me even thinking of it.

As I write this, I’m thinking of reaching out to a few people to recruit to help me in my efforts. Normally I’m one who likes to figure things out on my own, but as I get older, I’m learning to swallow my pride and ask for help.

I’m hopeful that with the extra hands, we can make a dent in the situation, and we can get things back on track.

Prayers for some dry, sunny days this week. Heaven knows we all need it! Enjoy the sunshine!

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.