A noisy problem

I love having birds in the garden and we’ve always done everything we can to encourage them, feed stations, bird bath and plenty of shrubs and bushes for them to hide and nest in. However this year we have an issue, a very noisy issue.

At the front of the house we have six foot high hedges, a holly tree and a conifer and usually its a harmonious place filled with cheeps and tweets from various babies, that was until a couple of magpies arrived. They decided to build a nest in the holly tree and have caused mayhem ever since. First they chased the blackbirds out of the hedges and into the conifer, which was going well until a very windy storm and we found two blackbird babies, much too young to fledge, on the floor at the base of the tree. The parents quickly decamped and set up home at the back of the house and are successfully and peacefully raising the next brood.

Next it was the wood pigeons and jays, both of which used to visit morning and evening but have given up fighting their way to the food whilst being bombarded by screeching and flapping. Although occasionally the jay ventures to the back of the house for food.

Now it’s the humans, we live on a main, busy road and during the day it’s not as much of an issue (I think the magpies must be getting their beauty sleep then) but from around 10 at night all hell breaks loose. Anyone dares to walk along the road gets screeched at from the top of the holly. Unfortunately some of the local cats have also joined in and have now taken to sitting at the bottom of the tree. They don’t do anything other than sit there but the cawing and screeching is so loud and can go on for hours.

I have been out in the garden at ‘stupid o’clock’ in my pyjama’s shouting at them to shut up and chasing the cats away. I was wondering what the neighbours thought if they saw me, but then a couple of nights ago whist opening the window to see what was causing that night’s noisy outburst, I spotted the neighbour in his garden, pj’s and slippers waving a newspaper around and telling the magpies, in very clear language, what he would do to them if they didn’t shut up !

Thankfully all the rain we have had recently has really settled them down, although I think it might just be the lack of cats and people around. Fingers crossed the noisy critters have given up their torment and will let us all sleep peacefully at night.

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Everything’s growing

Well, the allotment is looking so good. The weather has been lovely, warm, sunny with the occasional rain shower and everything is thriving from it.

The asparagus has really settled well and, apart from two plants, has sprouted, we can’t harvest any this year but leave it to bloom. It’s so delicate and looks very pretty.

The sweetcorn, leeks and cabbages are doing fine but the broccoli has really taken off (except the one eaten by something)

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The peas are doing better than last year, although that’s not difficult, however the beans are struggling and I’ve put in some new seeds. The potatoes have been earthed up and sprouted through again. The strawberries and courgettes are flowering happily. I’ve only planted two courgette plants, a yellow and green. I learned the hard way last year how quickly they grow and produce.

I bought some thornless blackberries, (a hybrid of raspberry, loganberry and blackberry) and built arches for them to grow over, and put lavender it the middle.

The rest of the fruit is coming along, I’ve already started harvesting and giving away the rhubarb, the raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, pear, and damson. I’m just hoping I can get to them before the birds do. The tiny little apple tree we brought from home has two buds, so hopefully we will get our first apples from it.

But my favourite part of the allotment has to be the pond area, it has really blossomed into a wildlife area. The flowers have put on a good show this year already and more are appearing. The fish are doing well and we have a resident frog, plus tadpoles in the pond. The bees are loving the pond too and are always around the bricks and iris plants.

I’ve even started sorting the shed and making it pretty by papering the walls in floral wallpaper.

I’m so happy with how things are going, my only plan currently is to put another pond/wildlife area in at the far end, nearest the greenhouse as there seems to be a lot slugs and snails up there and not a lot of plants/greenery apart from the comfrey and a couple of rose bushes.

Talking of the greenhouse, the tomatoes and peppers are doing well, the aubergine is growing but very slowly so I’m not sure if we will actually get anything from it, ever !

I hope your garden/growing space is doing well too.

June on the allotment

The weather has been crazy, it’s hot, hot, hot and apart from about an hour of pathetic drizzly rain that soaks humans but dries before it hits soil around three weeks ago, we’ve had no rain for a couple of months and the dreaded hosepipe ban is being mentioned.

The allotment has stalled a little as it’s too hot to be digging, so the areas that I’ve not yet cleared have been covered and left until the weather cools down. The ponds have been very welcome. I used a cheap trellis, held down with a couple of tent pegs and bricks to make a ‘wildlife escape route’ and the little birds, coal tits and sparrows mostly, are using it as a ladder to drink, its lovely to see them enjoy it. I had great plans of planting around the ponds and creating a flower, shrub area but that’s on hold until the weather eases up.

The plants are loving the heat and everything has been growing well, including the weeds. We had a slight issue with pigeons pinching all the pak choi so I’ve sown some new seeds and will make sure to keep it covered.

I was given three broccoli plants and two Brussels sprouts, neither of which I have ever grown before and this week we’ve harvested from 2 of the broccoli plants and the other isn’t too far behind. The netting has kept most of the butterflies away although now the sprouts are getting bigger it will need to be moved soon. Another job for another day.

The second peas (after the pigeon raid) never grew very high but we’ve had plenty of pods already and still plenty to fatten up. It’s been the similar with the broad beans. The french beans are slowly making their way up the frame.

The courgettes are producing really well, we’ve had 3 and I’ve given a few away to neighbouring plot-holders. I have planted two pumpkins and two butternut squash, I’ve never grown these before, and all have gained new growth and the pumpkins are flowering.

The greenhouse is a nightmarish place to be as it’s ridiculously hot in there. I have opened the roof, both side windows and the door vent but it gets super hot inside, however the tomatoes and peppers are loving it and have grown really well and are fruiting nicely.

Thankfully before the very hot weather really started we managed to sort out around half of the plot and those are the beds which are being used and grown in. I’m looking forward to get the rest sorted and growing some new things next year. I would like to get some more fruit growing, raspberries, strawberries, and gooseberries.

 

Whilst I was busy weeding and watering my mum was working hard making repairs and beautifying the shed and the ‘bath’ pond.

Have you grown anything new this year ? Any suggestions, tips or ideas welcomed.

Enjoy the sunshine.