Monday, April 21, 2014

Us vs. The Feral Cats, Season II

If we've talked to you about our yard at all, we've talked to you about the feral cat colony next door. It's a long and sordid story, but to summarize: There's a feral cat colony. Next door. There are at least 7 of them. They poop in our yard. 

This has led us to experiment with some wacky approaches to keeping them out of our raised beds, where we grow food we'd like to eat. Last year, we built frames and grids. 

If you look closely, you can see kitty paw prints in the middle bed. 

We regrouped, and had a banner tomato year, and ate leafy greens into the winter. 

It's time to prep the beds for the new growing season, and we took a new approach. Here are our beds as they looked post winter: cover crop on the left; fall-sale blueberry bushes quickly planted in the middle and far beds for the winter; weeds on the right. Notice the left and middle beds have nearly exploded in their rottenness.

And now: Two beautiful new beds, and Collin's brilliant hoop-house hack.

We created a basic hoop-house framework with flexible PVC pipe, and covered them with bird netting. Two days in, and no kitty incursions; plenty of room for veggies to grow and relatively easy access.

For anyone interested, here's some work we've done on the front of the house: removed grass and native plantings on the right; removed grass and rock garden in the parking strip. Note: we did not buy those stones; I simply removed the grass and minimal soil that existed there. New crabapple trees courtesy of Friends of Trees!