The Land Rover Owners Wife

Pigeon with mangetout and sweetcorn

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A protective matrix for the mangetout

A protective matrix for the mangetout

Well that’s how I would like to see the pigeon that has been happily munching away on my mangetout leaves. It has trashed the uppermost leaves of the ones growing along the fence and has now started on those growing up the wigwams. It appears that the top of the wigwams where the canes are tied together, make for a rather pleasant al fresco dining table. I am not impressed!
My poor mangetout

My poor mangetout

Sparrows have been the usual culprit when it comes to damaged mangetout but I’ve hardly seen any about this year and up until this week, the lack of protective netting for the mangetout hasn’t been a problem. That all changed with the arrival of a solitary pigeon. In just two days it has devoured an impressive number of the mangetout leaves – that is, it would be impressive if I wasn’t so annoyed!

With suitable netting not readily available amongst the myriad of gardening equipment and supplies already in my possession, I needed to find a solution and fast, before the plants were stripped bare.

I often find that a solution to a problem will present itself if I occupy my mind with other things and so I had a look in the greenhouse, to see what I needed to do before I could pot on the latest round of seedlings. My eye fell upon the 18 pots of sweetcorn which still needed to be planted out. The sweetcorn themselves were only between 3 and 5 inches tall which is much smaller than the 10 inches I usually use as the marker for when they need planting but needs must and, with several sowings having failed to germinate at all, this fourth and very late sowing of sweetcorn was already weeks behind where I needed it to be and so I felt I had little choice if we were to stand any chance of getting a decent crop this year.

The solution had been staring me in the face all along!

The solution had been staring me in the face all along!

Carrying the pots over to the bed where 8 sweetcorn were already growing and were already standing at around 1 foot 6 inches tall, a possible solution to my crop protection issue leaped out at me. To be honest it had been staring me in the face all the time but I was just so used to seeing it, I couldn‘t see it – if you see what I mean.

When I had planted the first lot of sweetcorn out, I had used the fence, plant stakes and some old wool, to rig up a criss cross matrix over the young plants, to keep the birds off them until they were old enough to hold their own, as it were. Now as I prepared to plant the remaining seedlings out I untied the wool . Once the planting was completed I placed some more plant stakes around the other three sides and recreated the ‘matrix’ by criss crossing between the original stakes and the new ones.

Stepping back to admire my handiwork, the thought occurred to me that this could possibly be used to offer protection to the mangetout. Obviously we were talking a much taller matrix created using more wool (sorry Claire), the existing fence and some taller canes and so I got to work. It may not look the prettiest of solutions but at least the wool is green (bright green) and so kind of blends into the garden.

Only time will tell if this plan works and long term we will need to invest in some bird friendly netting and not that awful pea netting stuff, from which I had to untangle a fledgling blackbird last year, whilst being thoroughly told off by the parents. I haven’t seen the pigeon at the mangetout at all this afternoon but then we have been outside pretty much all day, as the sun has been shining.

More canes, more wool and some happy seedligns

More canes, more wool and some happy seedlings

With the damage to the mangetout fresh in my mind, I then went back into the greenhouse and tried to figure out what to do with the Purple Podded Pea seedlings which were now over a foot tall and needed planting into a permanent home. After a discussion on the matter with Middle Mudlet, I came to the conclusion that the only place these could go were into a large tub in one of the greenhouses. Thirty minutes, more canes and green wool later, I had constructed a small pyramid in one of the larger flexi-tubs and planted 8 pea plants around it. These are in the large greenhouse next to the melon and should do okay, I hope. If nothing else, they will add a burst of colour as this variety of pea has a gorgeous purple/pink flower and produces deep purple pods.

Beans and PeasFinally, with space created on the staging, I spent a pleasant half an hour or so, potting on more Czar Runner Beans, Trail of Tears Pole Beans and some Meteor Pea seedlings, the latter of which are being grown for pea shoots and not for pods. This was all done to music as one of the neighbours is having a massive outdoor party and they’ve employed a live band for the event and the songs are just up my street (well actually, thinking about it, they’re probably all over the village) and I was happily belting out Delilah whilst tenderly repotting the beans.

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6 thoughts on “Pigeon with mangetout and sweetcorn

  1. Ingenious! I hope it was some scratchy acrylic?!

    • Lol, yes it was! I bought it to make the ‘Tinkerbell’ fairy and Little Elf for little Mudlets party in October. It’s not a colour I would choose as a rule but it blends in very well with the garden 😉

  2. I learned a new French word yesterday, which I think applies very well to your ingenious solutions- ‘Bricolage’ which means creating something or finding a solution using any materials you have to hand. Someone who practices this is known as a Bricoleur!
    I can quite identify with your pigeon problem, I feel I spend most of my time at present defending my plot from peckish pests! hopefully your woolly fortress will keep them off your mange tout.
    I’m really pleased with my Czar and Cherokee trail of tears beans so far, I think I planted out a bit too early and they sat looking miserable for a while, but they are romping up their poles now, really looking forward to the harvest!
    Stay vigilant! Alex x

    • My Czars have been flowering for a couple of weeks now but none have set as yet. There are a few more bees around now though, so hopefully I’ll find some tiny beans forming when this lot of flowers dies back. Like yours, the Trail beans are finally beginning to climb their poles with gusto but there aren’t any signs of flowers as yet.

      The Anna Swartz Hubbards are also flowering but alas, the first flower (which was female) opened on a day when the males were sulking but there are plenty more of both genders across the five plants and the Cheyenne Bush pumpkins are also flowering but only producing males so far 🙂

      The joys 😉 x

  3. Hi there. Pigeons aren’t a problem in our neck of the woods, but birds can be a problem taking bites out of tomatoes and strawberries and stealing all the good stuff.
    I have seen Christmas tinsel wrapped around the plants as a bird deterrent that seems to work as they don’t like the shiny moving foil bits. And it makes the garden seem all festive, which for us is perfect timing.
    Just a thought if your naughty pigeon is clever enough to see through your wool – which I hope he isn’t. Good luck and may you end up with more mangetout than you know what to do with!
    Cheers Sarah : o )

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