Tag Archives: pigeons

Speedy compost and decoys

Well what a week it has been. I spent most of the time doing the greenhouse hokey kokey…in, out, in, out, have a cup of tea…trying to dodge the showers.

The good news…

It was time to turn the compost for the first time since creating the new bays. I timed Mr Mac and it took just over 30 minutes. A huge improvement on 2 years! He just used a fork and lifted the compost over into the empty bay. I ripped up some cardboard and threw it in too to add some carbon. I have also learned that adding cardboard can also stop the compost heap smelling! We shall see….

The middle bay was full and ready to be turned into the bay on the right.

30 minutes later..all done

All of the new waste is now on the bottom and lots of air has been introduced to help it break down quicker.

And the not so good news…

The pigeons got the blame for eating the chard and the tulips. However, we then noticed the rasberry canes had all been stripped of shoots and leaves up to a height of about 3 feet. There is no way pigeons could have done that. Perplexed, we spent the day building frames to support nets over the raspberries and at 5am the following morning, Mr Mac got up before any of the birds, set a trap and sat at the back door Elmer Fudd style…waiting.

Mr Mac

Do you know what it was?

It was the pheasant! He has been wandering around for a few weeks now but we had never seen him in the garden. He makes a very loud “caw, caw” noise, followed by flapping his wings so you can hear him, even if you can’t see him.

One morning he woke us up and I even joked that he was so loud it sounded as if he was at the bottom of the bed! That was probably the same morning he ate all the tulips!

Fear not! He is still alive and well but we are following his movements closely and if he comes anywhere near the garden he gets chased away.

We are still not convinced the pigeons are entirely without blame for all the damage. I watched a programme recently about the London Underground. They have so much bother from pigeons at depots and stations that they employ a hawk which scares away the pigeons.

I half joked to Mr Mac that perhaps we should get a hawk to scare away the pigeons. He told me I was a genius and went next door to see Wallace. His real name is John but I call him Wallace because he was the inspiration for Wallace and Gromit. He is always designing gadgets from bits and pieces lying around.

Anyway, this is what they came up with…

Our decoy hawk - terrifying!

He is made from plywood and is attached to a bendy bit of metal so he “wobbles” in the wind.  Wallace is currently designing some form of swivel mechanism.

Apparently, a second decoy was also produced but he looks more like tweety pie!

Something is eating my garden!

I went down to the greenhouse this morning to put my brassicas out in the sunshine to harden them off and noticed a couple of bulbs lying on the path. Then I followed the trail of destruction that led to 5 empty planters which, as of yesterday, were full of tulips just ready to open their flowers.

the flowers have been eaten right down to the soil and the bulbs pulled out!

Total devastation!

We had planned to move them into the front garden today but now there is nothing left.

Earlier this week we also had to dig up 2 rows of rainbow chard which was also being eaten by something.

The chard, slowly getting nibbled

CHIEF SUSPECTS

Pigeons are the top suspects. I have noticed a lot of them flying around and sitting in the trees. The damage to the chard would indicate it was pigeons but I don’t see how they would be able to eat the tulip plants and be able to pull the bulbs out. We have not been bothered by pigeons before but then we have never grown chard or tulips before.

Rabbits are 2nd favourite. We are surrounded by fields which are full of rabbits although we are not usually bothered by them as we have two employees of the furry, four-legged variety who catch them. I could see the rabbits eating the chard but the tulips would be too high for them to reach – unless they carry a ladder!

The final suspect – deer. This year we have seen a record number of 7 deer in the fields beside us and they are becoming used to our presence, grazing right up to our fence. They eat grass, but do they eat tulips and chard? I don’t know.

Two outsiders

There is a fox which wanders around but we scare it away if it comes too close. Could he be a vegetarian? There is also a pheasant wandering around looking for a girlfriend – would he eat chard and tulips?

I am devastated about the tulips as we had looked after them all winter and they were going to produce a stunning display. That’s gardening for you though.

Thinking about it, something was attracted to the chard and after we pulled it out it has looked for the next best thing – tulips! Perhaps we should have left the chard as a decoy.

Here is one tulip that had come out. Really beautiful.

Could this be the reason why?

I am going to have to have a serious word with these two!