Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Trusssssst in meeeeee..........
Hey, everyone - say 'hello' to the latest addition to the plopment, 'Cynthia'! In my interminable meanderings through the backroads and bywaters of the Information Superhighway (does anyone still call it that anymore?), I have found myself drifting inexorably towards gardening and allotment websites - can't imagine why - and somewhere or other I read that, apart from the infuriating netting, another good pigeon deterrent is a toy rubber snake! Now, I've just put in quite a few lettuces which I now understand pigeons are also partial to. Constructing, and, indeed extending, net cages is akin to trying to stuff a live octopus into a string bag and my heart was heavy at the prospect of having to do this in order to protect the lettuces so I figured, what the hell, let's have a go at the snake option.
So off I went to eBay and found something suitable at abctoysandgames1 and for a very reasonable price too (and, no, I don't work for them). I was tempted by a black one but it wasn't clear on the advert if it was all black or had orange stripes. Now, bearing in mind that black and orange is a recognised danger sign in the animal kingdom (think tigers or wasps), it should stand to reason that any self-respecting pigeon would give a black and orange snake an extremely wide berth. I asked them and, sadly, the snake was all black. The other options were green (which I thought would get lost among the lettuces) or the colour I did choose, orange. And so Cynthia came to live with me, well, at the plopment actually.
According to The Wise Ones at an allotment forum I frequent (www.allotments-uk.com), a toy snake should work but it needs to be at least two feet long. Cynthia is made to curl at one end but you can straighten out her tail a bit and she's pretty lengthy. She went into the lettuces on Monday 16 June (see picture above). It then dawned on me as I was walking home that we have a multitude of 'playful' foxes at the allotment site who love nothing better than mucking about and playing with anything that isn't staked down or too heavy for them to move. I feared the worst for Cynthia so decided to pop down the next day to see if she was still there. Well, as you can see from the second picture, she was but it was obvious she'd been 'interfered with'. The earth was a bit scratched up around her middle and she was a bit dirty but she was still in one piece. I've not been down today but may go tomorrow and we'll see if she's stayed put.
Of course, all this may be a little academic because the site steward Jan popped down for a quick chat yesterday morning and when I proudly pointed out Cynthia to her, she remarked that the lettuces were actually quite large and probably wouldn't have been mugged by the pigeons anyway! Oh well.....
Finally, I was wandering around Homebase earlier this week and they had some really very nice sweet red pepper plants for sale at £1.99 each, so I bought 4 to put in the plopment and hope I have better luck with them than the ones I tried to grow at home on the patio three years ago. Jan, the steward, suggested that I plant them right up against the side of my shed because, (a) it gets sunlight all day there and (b) they would get additional heat that had been reflected/stored by the shed. I thought this was a damn fine idea so cleared the ground to make a small bed and plant them up. I think the next thing to do is to rig up some kind of protection for them as it's quite windy so perhaps some kind of tall cold frame arrangement with an open top would do, or even leaning some largish pieces of clear plastic against the shed. This is obviously going to be my next mission, along with the planting up of the 30-odd Leeks that are waiting to go in.