We are now well into June so maybe we should give a brief account of what has happened so far in the barganews vegetable garden. I am standing in the garden now* and I can see in front of me 120 plants growing quite happily beneath a bamboo framework that has been erected above them to support their “hopefully” tomato laden future. Further down the row, there is a line of basil growing – for the Pesto, the classic dish from Genoa. Further over into the field there are four lines of maize – an antique variety of corn called Otto File. The name means “8 Row” and is likely a very close descendant of the old—also 8-rowed—corns that would have come over to Europe with Columbus and crew. These small plants are now at risk from the birds who pull up the young plants to get at the seed beneath.
On the far side of the field are lines of beans of various types – runner and borlotti. Further over are the carrots, finocchi, a couple of types of lettuce, zucchini and cabbages…. and then we come to the disaster area … a strip of black plastic sheeting with holes in at regular intervals out of which should be showing 30 strawberry plants and which at the moment I can see only one visible healthy looking plant. The rest have been frizzled and burnt by the sun.
We put them in at the wrong time and moved them at the wrong time and we’re paying for it now. Most are dead by the looks of things and anyway we put them in precisely the wrong place in the field as at the end of this season when the tractor comes in to turn over the land once again you don’t want those strawberry plants sitting in the middle, they should have been planted somewhere on the side where the tractor can easily move around them. Oh well, it’s a learning process with a steep learning curve.
The electric fence has been working quite happily, only allowing in the porcupines once this week and there is an interesting thing. We keep saying porcupines but so far I have not found one single quill. Generally when they move around, especially if they got shocked and they did get zapped at the start of this month by the electric fence, they would have left one or two porcupine quills on the grass or on the ground. I have not found one. This is making me believe that maybe we are not dealing with porcupines are all but maybe with that other large forager that comes out at dusk – the badger.
The major problem with plants being eaten now seems to come from the air with birds looking to get a free feed.
Its time to think about some scarecrows.
Carrying on with the idea of reusing old objects. A large collection of CD’s by The Barga Band “The Songs” has been sitting in my studio for a number of years. I have used one or two of them in a large head sculpture for Halloween which succeeded in scaring a few children so how about using the CD’s as a means of scaring off the birds?
The light bouncing off them as they moving in the wind should be enough to keep the little devils at bay for at least a couple of weeks until the plants are large enough to no longer be in danger.
Back in the archives of barganews from 1993 we find an article about “The Songs” … click on the link above if you want to know what they sounded like.
On to the next problem to be solved; water … hmm, now this is going to be a hard one.
* I am standing in the garden now ? … what writing this article ? .. well actually, yes.
This has been dictated onto a hand held sound recorder and then transcribed by voice recognition software. No typing at all.