Monday, 22 October 2012

Birds evidently like green, leafy veg!

My veggie garden got nailed by birds over the weekend. They evidently like nice, young, sweet baby spinach leaves with a little butter lettuce to clean their palates...

I've had a bit of a mission with my veggie garden. That really hot weekend - about three weeks ago? - hammered the little seedlings and some didn't make it, despite sufficient water. It was just too much for them.

My little paper seed packet things that I made seem to have worked quite well to protect the seeds from insect activity but I think some of the less sturdy plants - unlike the sunflowers, which are very robust seedlings - battled to break their roots through the packets. I did some patient work with the little tiny seedlings to help them but some didn't make it.

I also noticed some insect activity in the one area of the bed - none of those seeds germinated and I noticed what looked like nibble marks in the packets (underground). The seeds were gobbled - they didn't stand a chance. I put in more seeds.

It must have been around this time that I put in an irrigation system. I did this in my 'normal' garden at the beginning of the year and it works a treat. I had left over piping and nozzles and within an hour I had a system set up for the veg garden. I also put in some new seeds, to replace those that died or didn't even come up in the first place.

As for my 'top-up' trays... not as successful as I'd hoped. Again I think some little seedlings were battling to get their roots through. Others just didn't germinate. The sunflowers did very well and a few little spinach plants have come up. Anyway, I put in more seeds.

I seem to be far to naive in thinking that every seed planted should produce a seedling - or at least 90% of them should be viable. Well, they don't seem to be.

My tomato plants are finally doing ok and every marker now has a plant. They're still teeny-tiny but they're there.

On tomatoes... on Friday week before last (that's about 10 days ago now) my seeds from Living Seeds arrived. I ordered a bunch of heirloom (aka heritage) tomato seeds - different varieties, mostly cherry-type size. I put them into a pot. Part of this order was for heritage peas. These are the first ones to appear.

On to the bird issue... yesterday afternoon I went to get the veggies (I didn't get to check them on Saturday) and my poor little baby spinach plants, which were doing really well, had been stripped of their succulent little leaves! A neighbour said he'd seen birds around the bed and had shooed them off a number of times. They also went for some of the little baby butter lettuce leaves, had a nibble at the cornflower plants and only went for one of sunflower plants.

So, I check my gardening book and have just finished building my anti-bird defense system. I've used that plastic chicken-wire and a 'CD scarecrow'. The latter are old data CDs that twist and twirl in the wind and serve as a good deterrent.

I'm not sure whether the little plants will survive the avian attack but I certainly hope so. They've got good roots by now and there are some little stems above ground. They just need to grow some new leaves.


I'm going to a permaculture workshop on 4 Nov - to get a bit of an education about this veggie garden stuff. I haven't been totally successful yet but I'm learning as I go along.

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