Wildlife Feeding Station

In addition to gardening in my own yard, I have a plot behind my parents-in-law. They live four houses down and around the bend. Its literally down a hillside, but they have a big cleared flat space behind their house. Beyond their backyard is an undeveloped area with a creek and woods. Many critters have homes there and find my plot a great place to eat. In the five years I’ve gardened there, I’ve provided food for rabbits, raccoon, squirrels, ground hogs, turtles, deer, coyote, crows, turkey, opossum, and maybe more.

Hunting is not an option since we are inside city limits. In my own yard I have a fenced plot so I can grow the critters favorites and likely get a harvest for myself. Which animals visit can change. The coyotes are newcomers so we see fewer ground hogs and rabbits than previous years. Deciding what to plant there is something of a guessing game.

Certain plants are not worth a repeat attempt. Sweet corn and sweet potatoes are real animal favorites. The old black pepper on the sweet corn silk did not deter the early harvesters. And sweet potato vines and leaves are a real deer, rabbit and ground hog favorite. Cantaloupe and watermelon feed turtles and coyotes if the vines aren’t taken first by ground hogs.

I’ve gotten reduced harvests of some plants that I will try there again. Beans, peas, and cucumbers are in this category. I’ve lost leaves, but the plants have recovered and produced for me.

My neighborhood wildlife has left some things for my harvest. What they leave could be influenced by what is available. Okra, chili peppers, onions, cabbage and tomatoes are veggies I’ve grown with little or no loss to animals. They will get the most space this year in what has been a wildlife plot.

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