29th January 2015 Feed the birds
Apart from the gradually increasing day length and progression towards the start of spring cultivations, this time of year is particularly noteworthy because of the ravages of pigeons and crows. The operations of these two avian pests, makes the grazing of rabbits and deer almost a pleasure by comparison. It seems that pigeons have little on offer to satisfy their hunger, other than the over-wintering Brassicas of the vegetable grower. The worst casualty has been the tender young leaves of our spring greens. They have been badly pecked but I’m hopeful that, as it warms up, new growth will replace the damaged leaves and the pigeons will look for other food sources. Hopefully that won’t be our rather lovely purple sprouting which so far has been relatively unscathed.
In an act of shutting the doors of horseless barns, we dusted off the bird scaring devices last week. We have quite an impressive array; from an inflatable ‘scary man’ with flashing night light and siren options, to gas powered bangers, fire crackers and kites. Some are less popular with the neighbours so we have to deploy them with care and consideration. The crows, by the way, have been pulling up the germinating seed of our autumn sown broad beans. Crows are much more clever than pigeons and very little seems to scare them, so crop covers are probably the only answer.
You may have noticed that we have finished our stocks of our Milva potatoes and are now using one of our main crop varieties, Cosmos. You will also notice that some of them are starting to sprout as a direct result of the warm winter (so far). As I’ve said many times before, this ‘sprouting’ should be celebrated as it shows you are eating living organic plant material which has not been sprayed with chemical sprout suppressants.
Thank you Richard Plowright