Initially, sensing a growing threat from the birds as the blueberries grew bluer, the birds multiplied in my gutter, and the sheer cheek of a bird flying off with an entire seedling in its mouth, I bought some 'humming bird wire' from the hardware store (you can vaguely see it in the above photo - it's running above the white netting). $17.95 for bird wire, with the capacity to cover my entire yard with ease vs $50 for bird netting? I reasoned that the wire was a better option. I leapt around the backyard, foolishly triumphant as I hammered in posts and attached the wire to old stockings, designed to take some of the slack (on a side note, what do single men use for garden ties?). However, the wire turned out to be a false economy. The next morning I went outside, and three cheeky birds were doing the early shift, checking the strawberries for ripeness and sifting through the mulch for worms. My message: don't buy 'humming bird wire'. Needless to say, I had to pay the hardware store another visit, returning home with a mass of surprisingly expensive netting. So much for 'saving money' by growing your own vegies...
Anyone (including myself) who has sneered at my Fine Arts degree and wondered what in the hell I'll use a sculpture major for, should check out my strawberry construction. It's titled Bird Net Over Strawberries and challenges the notion that art and functionality are mutually exclusive. In all reality it's just a bodgy construction of bamboo stakes, gaffa tape, netting and old tent stakes, but it's holding up surprisingly well. The bird wire can be seen in the below photo as well.
|Bird Net Over Strawberries (2010), dimensions variable|
On another triumphant note, my green artichokes are sprouting well. The mothership looks fairly ready to eat, and the smaller side-flowers are just about there too. My purple artichokes, mentioned in previous posts are just about gone. I had stall at a market on Sunday, where I sold a number of them (along with rhubarb and silverbeet), and I suspect that the stocks are just about drained. I wonder if the purple variety always flower before the green variety, or whether it's just because the green plant is slightly younger?
|A not-quite-ready pea|
|scungy brocoli head|
|"but I never even saw you bud!?!"|
The cabbages are also quite frustrating, although I can take my anger out on the green caterpillars that like to munch on the leaves. They're delightfully fun to squash!
The creatures that I haven't come across before are those on my cherry tree that I just noticed this morning: little black slug-like creatures (pictured below). Help! what are they? how do I get rid of them?
The nectarine tree (I think - I forgot to mark the trees too), which has the leaf curl is producing cute little fruit things. Now, I know that people say that you should break off fruit to encourage growth in the first year, but is it really necessary? The poor tree's trying so hard despite the odds....
For the last year, I've left a couple of almost all plant varieties to go to seed, simply because I'm curious about their life-cycles. I think it's a good way of learning, and as an added bonus if you're lucky (like I've been), things like spinach and lettuce will come up the next year without you lifting a finger...