Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Invade and destroy mission...

OK - not happy about 'the patch'. Actually, what I'm not happy about is our chooks destroying the patch.

On Monday they managed to find a way in through the netting we have around the outside (by ripping a great hole in it). They have not been interested EVER until now so I was shocked to see them in there. By the time I saw them they had obviously been in there a while, and as anyone who has kept hens will know, they just LOVE to scratch and dig.

They managed to uproot ALL the beetroots and capsicum plants, squashed and trampled the carrot tops flat and dug around a couple of tomato plants down to expose the roots. So after a firm chook removal from the patch, I tried to recover what I could and replant them.

This may have worked ......... had they not returned to do the same thing an hour later. AARRRGGGHHH !!!! Of course I thought I'd make it chook proof, but apparently not.

So in all, after managing to save only a couple, we have lost 12 beetroots, 3 capsicum plants, 1 tomato plant and not sure about the carrots. They ate a fair amount of silverbeet and some lettuce, but just the leaves, so they will grow back.

This comes after our purple king beans have been pretty much destroyed by ?? something last week. I had 5 healthy plants growing up a bamboo tepee, about 2 metres tall and just flowering, until something decided the leaves looked nice and juicy and munched them all away. I made a spray from molasses and pure soap, (supposed to stop caterpillars in their tracks) and set up a few vegemite/sugar slug traps. This seems to have stopped the destruction, but there's hardly anything left on the plants now so I'm not sure they will make it.

The toughest part is that I have grown all of these from seed this year, so it has taken a lot of time, effort and care to get them this far. I suppose this is another part of the lesson? I thought planting more than you need was so you could give some away to friends!

So, all in all, not good news on the gardening front. Oh, and for those non-locals, the last 3 days here have reached almost 40 degrees, so everything (including me!) is suffering from the heat too.

As for the chookies, I am back on speaking terms with them (!) the 4 of them are laying every day to ensure their place here remains! The patch now looks like Fort Knox, although I don't think Fort Knox was secured with holey bird net, old boxes and wheelbarrows .....

Weekend task - putting a proper post & chicken wire fence around the patch.

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