Pigeons accused of GBH (Grievous Brassica Harm)

Pigeon damage

Cursed pigeons!

A quick trip to the allotment on Thursday was well-timed.  The cursed pigeons had breached the defences and again savaged the brassica.  As well as devastating some spring greens, our young cabbage and cauliflowers were also ripped to shreds.  Fortunately, the young plants still have their centre leaves and will recover, albeit slowly.

We had no problem with birds in our first year of allotmenteering, which lulled us into a false sense of security.  Now it is a constant battle of wits!  Not only do they feast on the brassica, but they also seem to be very partial to peas.  Now 9 beds of 13 are netted and the allotment resembles a high security prison!  Surely the time will come when we do actually manage to keep those pesky birds at bay?

Bird Scarer

Venetian blind bird scarer

We’ve invested in yet more netting to make sure the barriers are impenetrable, and David’s latest bird-scaring device is in place.  The CDs on strings don’t seem to do much, last year’s replica buzzards kept breaking off and spent more time on the ground than in the air … but this year … I think he’s cracked it!

My husband belongs to the ‘that will come in handy one day’ brigade. And the left-over slats from 2004’s silver Venetian blinds finally have come in useful!  And there are plenty left to add another device at the other end of the plot.  You can see them in action here.

Weeding and planting

Considering I thought there would be nothing much to do on the allotment this week, I somehow managed to spend 3½ hours weeding!  And the Cosse Violette French beans were planted and the last 2 courgettes.  All that remains to go in before we have a full house, is some more cauliflower and winter cabbage, and a few more leeks.  So for another week, the plot is looking loved and cared for.

The mange tout fest has begun

Kojak courgettes

Our first courgette!

Much to our surprise, we discovered we had some mange tout ready to pick.  With only 7 to start with, they have a way to go.  We know from experience the Reuzensuiker variety is very prolific, so it will soon be mange tout for every meal.

The first courgette (although still tiny) has formed and the broad beans are doing nicely.  When we heard our Surrey allotment buddy had already picked some broad beans, we were a bit envious, but the weather here in Chipping Norton is considerably cooler and it does make a difference.  At least that’s our excuse!

I finally forced myself to thin out the Swedes … always a heart breaking job.  How I hate pulling out perfectly

Bunyard Exhibition Broad Beans

Bunyard Broad Beans

healthy plants which have survived all the odds.  It seems a dreadful waste to me!

Now … what will we find to do next week on the allotment, or has it all been done?


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7 Responses to “Pigeons accused of GBH (Grievous Brassica Harm)”

  1. Adam Cowper-Smith Says:

    Your blind pigeon protection reminded me of something my dad used on our smallholding to keep birds off. Not sure if you can still get it but it was called humming line, a thin strip if plastic that came on a roll and he strung it between canes (a bit like cotton to protect seeds). When the wind blows it hums and scares the birds, they don’t like flying near it either.
    Like the blog

  2. Joy McCarthy Says:

    Thanks Adam – I have a notion I’ve heard of something like that before. I must investigate further. It is soul destroying to see everything you’ve worked so hard to grow just be wiped out in one go. Makes actually working on the plot hard work too because you have to keep fighting the net.

    Glad you liked the blog – it’s my ‘fun’ one!

  3. Allotment Ali Says:

    Joy, I actually read this the minute you posted it! It appeared on my phone whilst my husband was filling the car with petrol, and there was a long queue to pay so I sat there and read it all! You are so amuzing – I love the GBH and the fact that Mr Soapy belongs to the “that will come in handy one day” brigade!!
    Well I must say all your veggies are looking rather grand! I especially like your broad beans, as a fellow broad bean lover myself. I read recently in a book of “old country tales” that if you plant broad beans pre Christmas then you are less likely to get a blackfly problem and strange but true my 1st planting this year = no blackfly but 2nd & 3rd are blackfly hotels, even though I have pinched out the tips!!

  4. Joy McCarthy Says:

    Hi Ali

    We tried planting broad beans pre-Christmas 18 months ago, but not one germinated. Think it is just too cold here for them, so gave up. The allotment this year was under nearly 2′ of snow for about 3 weeks.

    Strangely, we haven’t had any blackfly on them at all this year and they are now only a week or two away from being picked. With 250 plants, we’ll have a lot of blanching & freezing to do!

    Last year, we did 3 sowings to spread season & last lot did nothing. So blitzed them this year to fill freezer and will plant lots of late peas to take their place when they’re finished.

  5. Rita Howard Says:

    Hello Joy,
    Your husband gave me the link to your blog.
    I really enjoyed it! I’ve only had my allotment for around 6mts. I already realise that I have loads to learn! I shall follow you from now on, if I may and pick up some tips!

  6. Joy McCarthy Says:

    Hi Rita

    Great to meet you! You can follow me on Twitter to (@WORDright). Check out Allotment Ali’s blog too – she is ace! There is a link to her on this blog & she’s on Twitter too (@AllotmentAli).

    We are still bumbling amateurs, but love being up on the allotment.

    Best wishes


  7. Onions and spring fever on the allotment « The Oxfordshire Copywriters' Allotment Says:

    […] know the pigeons enjoy the pea shoots, so David has come up with yet another bird deterrent.  This time it is more old Venetian blind slats stapled together over a piece of string.  You […]

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