Thwarting greedy beaks

There have been unmistakeable signs – berries on the ground and then the surreptitious waddle-past, eyeing up the potential for another raid. Word was going back to Pigeon HQ that goosegogs and currants were carelessly unattended.

I’ve been putting off putting up the cages. I’d fondly imagined having the walk-in done by now. The ground had become rock-hard and not conducive to whanging in stakes & pegs. All the netting was at the bottom of a ‘storage dalek’ (my shed being tidy has consequences!). Plus lots of the gooseberries fell foul of the frost and I just didn’t notice how quickly the redcurrants in particular are maturing. Watching a pigeon crash noisily out of the bushes has spurred me into action. They are up now, less straight than usual through lack of time, and higher than normal because of all the tall potted bushes I have shoved in to keep the planted bushes company.

They aren’t expensive, bar the netting. Just a few dahlia stakes cut to height, painted for pretty and sturdified with bamboos. The net is cut to fit the bed, and it lasts for years as long as the wretched mice don’t chew their way in. At which point it looks a bit more cobbled as I mend the holes with polytwine.

I am also doing that thing most allotmenteers dread in peak growing season. I am Going Away. Spectacularly mistimed given the amount of temporary pots I am running in the greenhouse and on the plots. Him Indoors has promised to keep an eye on the balcony…he’s snoozing while I type this and can’t hear me creeping out with more pots. Wonderful Lionel is taking care of pots on plots, and even he blenched slightly at the sight of them all.

I went up last night to save some of the outside smaller ones from drowning in their crate after a day of rain. Slugs and snails hadn’t found them, but they had found nearly everything else. Apart from the labels, there is no sign of the Potimarron squashes I had put out, and the newly hatched dwarf beans had an extra wrapping of brown slime. I had no time for my preferred method of dispatch (secateurs) and had to settle for scattering some ferrus pellets and lobbing as many as possible into the communal pond.

There are very few in the greenhouse (currently). And none on the strawberries, which are ripening happily. I’ve left a large handful at home for Him Indoors as a reward for driving me to the airport in a car which isn’t entirely waterproof.

Categories: Diary 2017

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11 replies

  1. We need to recall reconstruct a cage over the blackbirds favourites – redcurrants. One of our problems is that the wood pigeons eat our cherry tree leaves so I think we will have to turn it into a bush so we can net easily.


    • I’ve not seen them doing that! Hopefully our local ones won’t learn. Have you tried the cherry tree ‘sleeves’ that fit over branches? Kathy over at A Little Bit of Sunshine knocks them up out of net curtains and they keep her crop safe. There are pics about half-way down her page. Hope you have a bumper crop!


      • They seem to be choosy as they leave a cherry tree on a neighbouring plot alone. I’ve seen the sleeves for protecting fruit but to protect the leaves would mean sleeves on every branch.


  2. Whoops! Can definitely see hooked boots would be Bad when playing with netting. I am forever cursing the cheap stuff I bought just to keep sparrows off my beets. It snags on everything!


  3. I dread the thought of leaving my seedlings to the mercy of molluscs and am trying Strulch this year, recommended by another allotmenteer. I’ve just been out to buy a couple of bags this morning and will post about it if it works! (Could it really be true that there’s a slug deterrent out there?!?) Have a good trip, wherever you’re off to.


  4. Thanks for the update on your plot Beryl. Sorry to hear you are battling slugs too. Strange isn’t it how we long for Spring to arrive and when it does, we end up battling the speed of growth and pesky critters that invade our territory. Keeping up at this time of year can feel a bit like rolling boulders uphill. Anyway I hope you have a wonderful holiday and not worry about things back home.


    • Add the sudden heat to that and I am starting to have siestas! Slugs thankfully left most things alone while I was away. 🙂


  5. It’s a continuous assault. Repel borders! Man (or indeed woman) the barricades! Last weekend I bodged a fruit cage for raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries. My main learning from that experience (apart from measure twice, cut once. Again.), was that it’s a bad idea to wear walking boots with hooks when mucking about with netting. Tripped and nearly took a header several times. I may bodge up similar cages for the raised beds next year. See what the damage is this year. Good luck!

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