I met this lovely couple at Lowe’s this week while we were waiting for a nice lady buying some doors to finish her business with the door guy. It turned out that they live close by; in fact, we know some of the same neighbors. They have lived here since the 1970s. When I confessed my weak garden season in 2021, they groaned and said that last season was the WORST they’d seen in years and years.

Garden Season 1 – 2021

So while it was probably the best garden I’ve ever put together, we did struggle (we=the plants and me). It was an extra dry year, with threat of the nearby Caldor fire in the air for weeks and weeks. The 6-foot fences around 3 acres of the property did not really deter the deer when they got good and hungry in late summer. I experienced the heartbreak of nurturing a little squash seed into maturity, watching it bask in the sun, just to have some sneaky deer wait until sundown to hop the fence and bite it clean down to the base.

So what am I going to do differently this year?

Seed Starting: I started late last year because — oh, yes, remember this? — my new puppy Pete broke a toe and was in a cast for eight long weeks, right in the sweet, busy part of spring — (long story — I’ll eventually tell it on the First Year in Review page).

This year, we’re starting seeds NOW — lettuces are starting in the sunroom, and I’m going through the current seed supply and ordering new.

I’m replacing the 4-foot fence around the garden with a 6-foot fence. I have enough 6-foot t-posts laying around to do this without much expense.

To extend the growing season and deter deer, I’m getting ready to install a small (14×20) hoop house from Karmen Garden and Landscaping in Grass Valley. So excited!

Finally, this is Year Two, and it’s always been my plan to start keeping bees in the second year of retirement. So…I’m a member of El Dorado Beekeepers, and enrolled in a beginner beekeepers class this February and April. I’m looking forward to starting with 1-2 hives this year, growing into beekeeping slowly and keeping it modest.

I’m retired. I don’t want any of this to ever feel like work. And so far, it doesn’t (except when things fail or break, which has been often).

Mostly, it’s intellectually engrossing with so much to learn all of the time, and there is always, always something that needs to be done outside. Gotta go.