‘If you don’t net ‘em, you won’t get ‘em!’ by Debbie Cooke
By: Steve Ott
I noticed the first tinge of pink on my strawberries, and a few stray berries sneaking through the netting. I poked them back in and was reminded of last years fiasco, which is why I keep mine permanently netted.
A family of young blackbirds moved into my strawberry patch and it was a while before I noticed. I netted them quickly but felt very guilty for depriving these vulnerable fledglings of a juicy treat. Subsequently any fruit that had slug holes, and there were a few, were promptly thrown to the young blackbirds which now huddled under the hedge opposite. It had been so hot that the adults were taking tadpoles from my pond as it was impossible to get worms out of the baked ground.
I’m sure it’s been mentioned a million times before but I would just like to remind folk about protecting the fruits of their labour from marauding wildlife.
It’s not just the strawberries they’re after, I’ve seen blackbirds jumping up in the air to get at my blackcurrants and cultivated blackberries because they were too heavy to get a purchase on the stems. And raspberries, well they just LOVE raspberries!
As for other beasties, pigeons on brassicas, I’ve lost a number of Brussels to them. I generally use nets fine enough to deter butterflies. Don’t be tempted to remove these at the end of the summer as the pigeons are also partial to some fresh greens for their Christmas dinner.
My other big bug bear is CATS! Don’t get me wrong, I love cats, what I don’t love is them using my freshly turned soil as a toilet. I use short lengths of cane sticking out of the ground at sharp angles to deter them from defiling my pristine plot.
I have read suggestions for using various kinds of tape and cd’s to keep birds off and having a very windy garden figure some of these might work. I have also heard of vinegar flags for deterring cats, rabbits and deer. Has anyone tried vinegar flags? (Rags soaked in neat white vinegar, tied to canes and re-soaked once a week).
Following all the Jubilee celebrations recently, this got me thinking about bunting.
Some friends had helped to make a large quantity of bunting for our village from as much red, white and blue fabric as could be mustered. However they had neglected to keep any for themselves and we were very surprised by how quickly everywhere sold out.
Being the resourceful recycler that I am, I decided to see what I could find. I had no fabric to use as I had already donated mine to the bunting fund and I could’t find any suitable fabric in the shops.
Two balls of string, a number of biodegradable carrier bags and a roll of sticky tape later, I and two of my friends/neighbours had our fences adorned with some surprisingly splendid red white and blue bunting.
Only now, after a week and half and some of the most horrendous weather we have had this year, are some of my flags giving up and letting go.
This was only made to last a day or two and it’s only the tape that is giving out because of the damp. If I were to stitch the flags to some fabric tape or even over lock them to the string……...
My veg plot/herb garden is based on the colour wheel with colour co-ordinated planting and canes, why not take it a stage further?
It is now my mission to make myself some colour co-ordinated bunting! Purely to keep the vermin away you understand!
I do rotate the colour with the crops but it will be no hardship to move my bunting.
Current Issue: June 2013
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