This Means War....
0 comment Sunday, June 29, 2014 |
It would be nice if growing and gardening was all about the delicious pottering about and growing plants and idyllic countryside living, but it has its frustrations as well. At the moment, my biggest issues are the current ecosystem we have going right now; birds and cats.
My neighbour delights in feeding birds and watching them, and they come from miles around to eat the bread she puts out. Unfortunately, this brings its fair share of pigeons - and once they've had their mains, they pop over to my veg patch and have their greens. They've managed to take out all my salad seedlings, a few of my dahlias, and seem to now be starting on the peas. The birdscarers I've put up have zero effect as these are city pigeons and nothing scares them, not even humans.
With the amount of birds in the area, this brings in the cats, and they have been seeing my raised bed as a combination food bar and litter tray. They've half-dug up my swiss chard on one side to use the area as their personal midden, and prowl on a regular basis at night to try and hunt down the birds and squabble loudly in the garden at night.
So, now the promise of spring greens has been wiped out, and the summer-winter greens will follow suit if I don't manage to protect them, and soon. I've put some lemon essential oil on the soil earlier this year, which did manage to keep the cats out of it for a little while. The birds are a bit trickier however, and I think I shall resort to using some of my strawberry plant netting.
This is something I've been thinking about with regard to my toms, raspberries, cherries and other fruit and veg I intend on planting. I originally didn't grow up with barrier gardening - using fences and nets and so on, I've always felt it was somehow unkind. The deer used to eat some of our veg, sure, but they couldn't eat all of it. "A third of the garden goes to animals" was my grandfather's motto, and whether he was joking or not, I still remember it almost as if it were a mantra.
Thing is, my garden is not merely a visual space now, I'm trying to feed us with it. I can't afford to lose a third of the garden to fearless pigeons, digging cats or voracious slugs. You can't tell wildlife to only eat this bit and leave the rest alone. You can't tell the weeds to stay in your neighbour's yard and leave your bit alone. Nature doesn't respect imaginary boundaries.
And so I lay out the beer traps to save my strawberries, and once again I'll put the essential oil down, and peg up some netting. I'll restore my sense of balancing out by dedicating one of the sunflower heads to the birds in winter, but the foliage-eating slugs are just a NO. And the cats can go do their business just about anywhere - it doesn't need to be in between my peas and swiss chard.
In addition to the general greens-munching-digging woes, the temperatures have been rather rubbish, and look to continue to be rubbish for a while. English weather over the past few years has meant amazingly beautiful March-April weather followed by rather soggy, cold summers. Not the best of news for my warm-loving plants like toms and peppers (one of which, I've discovered, has also been chewed down to a stalk - ARGH). Since I don't have any polythene sheeting to keep these plants out of the worst of the wind and cold, I have brought the toms, peppers, and squash back indoors again, and will be tending them inside for a while until the worst of the bad weather is past. Possibly a good thing that I haven't been able to get these plants into their permanent placements yet! Still, I can fertilise them in their pots for the time being, adding egg shells and liquid feed to give them a bit of a nitro boost, and hopefully they'll be fine later on to put out.
So, a few steps back at the moment, but we'll soldier on. I'm rather glad I've got the garden literally right outside so I can keep on top of problems as they happen rather.