Cutting my losses.

After a hard fought battle, the birds have won.   The horrid little blighters.  If they weren’t so chirpy and fluffy and cute I would really dislike them.  But waking to the sound of their magnificent dawn chorus, accompanied by the crowing of Chicken the Rooster, they are forgiven for completely destroying my chances of an early pea crop.

What a sorry bunch of peas
What a sorry bunch of peas

I should by now be nibbling on sweet tender green orbs of yumminess. But they are nowhere to be found in my garden.  I have been working sporadically on my garden for months to get it spring ready and while I may be a bit behind with the weeding and digging, my seed sowing has pretty much been on time, because without the seeds the garden is nothing.

Despite the lack of top growth these peas valently grew great roots
Despite the lack of top growth these peas valently grew great roots

So with much excitement back in early July I sowed my first batch of peas in the snug safety of the greenhouse and they all germinated beautifully.  I was so pleased as it felt like the first real gardening efforts of the new season.  But then we had to go away for two weeks and this is where all my problems began.  Not wanting to burden our poor house sitter with a multitude of horticultural chores I decided it would be ok to leave the pea seedlings outdoors, but up on a rack away from the reach of those slippery gastropods.

Hmm... what do we have here.  Pea greens - yummo!
Hmm… what do we have here. Pea greens – yummo!

And while I did succeed in foiling the slugs and snails, I failed to take into consideration the birds.  They had pecked and shredded my poor baby peas to within an inch of their lives.   But I saw a glimmer of hope and returned them to the greenhouse and nursed them back to full health.  Once they seemed strong enough I planted them in the garden and threw a net over them so they could settle in.

sowing peas
And lets hope we have more success this time

Once they got to a point that they were likely to entwine themselves inextricably to the net (I have made this mistake before) I removed the net then the birds came swooping back in.  Under a second attack the peas bravely stood their ground and put down strong roots but it was all too much for them.  Instead of flowering and creating juicy fat pods all their efforts went into staying alive and so I found myself with the spindliest row of peas you ever did see.

When sowing peas directly I always pop a few extras down the side to fill any gaps, should there be any.
When sowing peas directly I always pop a few extras down the side to fill any gaps, should there be any.

You can’t say I didn’t try hard to save them, but at the end of the day if you want peas and aren’t getting peas then something has to give.  I removed the poor wee plants and separated them from their nitrogen fixing nodule laden roots and popped them on the compost heap, and gave the tops to the chickens.  If I can’t have peas then I can have eggs instead!

These lettuce were bought weeks ago
These lettuce were bought weeks ago, with the purpose of motivating me to sort the salad garden. But alas no. I’m cutting my losses with these and giving them to the chickens.

In the empty row I planted more peas, varieties more suited to the increasingly warmer weather and have given them the best protection I can offer them.  We can now all but hope the birds lose their fondness for peas.  Having said that I have planted a different variety on the other side of the pea bed about a month ago and apart from a few pesky attacks they have been largely left alone, so maybe it was the variety.  Here’s hoping.  I’ve popped up some wind chimes and windmills just in case.

New young lettuce in the salad bed
New young lettuce in the salad bed.
My inner garden geek is making me plant seedlings with their most photogenic side facing the front of the garden. Should I be worried?

Come again soon – a slow and steady progress is being made.  We will be ready for the big day!

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

13 thoughts on “Cutting my losses.

  1. I loved your story of battling with the birds.. for us…..snails, slugs and straying chickens put an end to many a crop……. then last year white butterflies arrived and ate their way through the spinach and lettuce….there is always something!!

    1. Yes indeed. There is always something. It can make things very frustrating, but keeps you on your toes and gives you the perfect excuse to get out into the garden everyday…. to check on things.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Thanks Gene. The Big Day is when it is generally considered safe to plant out the seedlings without further risk of frost. And it just happens to coincide with a lovely long weekend late in October.
      Cheers Sarah : o)

    1. Hi Julie. I never had problems with the birds before. Last year they were a little bit annoying, but this year it is a full on pest situation! Hopefully I can thwart them somehow.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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