Allotment Adventures: Magpie Mischief

Last week, I counted 10 magpies on my plot and they are wreaking havoc.. only 4 of the 10 sweet potato plants survived, several tomato plants were decapitated and they have been all over the cucumber, summer and winter squash beds and have pulled up the new shoots.

On Saturday, I was wild about it. However, there’s not a lot I can do about the wildlife, so we need to protect the beds more. We are transitioning from using net to using mesh and bought ten metres of it (we have another 20 metres on order) and we started to cover things. Some things just need covering until they come up (squash and cucumbers), some will need covering when the fruit is ripe (if they eat all my blueberries and blackcurrants, I will be devastated!), and some (brassicas and leeks) will be covered for their whole life in the garden to protect them from birds, aphids and allium miner. I plant for the bees and there are bird feeders but I’m not opening a salad bar for the pigeons and magpies!

Some of the potatoes got a bit crispy but we’ve topped them up with compost so they’ll recover but the salad bed is a disaster and if the pigeons haven’t eaten it, then it’s bolted. This year has made some things really clear, we didn’t overwinter the broad beans this year and it was a mistake, we don’t have broad beans yet and they are covered in blackfly. Usually, we’d have finished the crop about now and would be thinking using that bed for something else. Things that we did over winter (onions, shallots and garlic) are looking pretty good, I have some concerns about the shallots but they are nearly ready, and the onions have fallen over already. So in October and November when I’m just about done with the plot, I need to push through and get things in the ground.

It’s not hugely productive right now but it’s so pretty, I’m enamoured of the knautia by the pond and just the pond area generally.

There are flowers and bees, and ladybird larva and I think a damselfly. I’m really proud of this area because I made it and it’s maturing well.

About nicdempsey

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