It has been gorgeous today in Bristol – blue skies and you could feel the warmth of the sun on your back. There was a bit of coat on, coat off action going on.
When we got to the plot today, two magpies were nosing about on out plot. I got excited and reminded myself of the old rhyme ‘one for sorrow, two for joy’. I grinned excitedly and felt for sure that our allotment was destined to be the best thing ever.
I looked at Beener and she said ‘yeah but what are they pecking at’. They were near our broad beans (which have not materialised yet). Not really knowing what they eat we decided that it was worms they were after. We decided to plant some more broad beans in the green-house just in case.
The internet is marvellous. It has taught me that magpies seem to eat anything thats going – which therefore encompasses broad beans, however they are primarily scavengers and omnivores. They are partial to slug and snail too – eggscelent news.
Magpies are intelligent and social birds.
Therefore the only worrying thing seems to be the prospect of a swoop attack from the magpies. However Newcastle City Council (Australia) have provided the following information which I will certainly bear in mind:
There are some things you can do to reduce the chance of being swooped by a magpie:
* Avoid the area where you know magpies are swooping
* Try to watch the magpie while moving away quickly from the area. Magpies are less likely to swoop if you look at them
* You can draw or sew a pair of eyes on the back of a hat and wear it when walking
* Wear a bicycle helmet or you can make your own hat out of an ice cream container or card board to help protect your head
* Carry an open umbrella over your head
* Carry a stick or small branch above your head, but do not swing it at the magpie as you will provoke further attacks
* If you are riding a bicycle when the magpie swoops, get off the bicycle and wheel it quickly through the area. Your bicycle helmet will protect your head and you can attach a tall red safety flag to your bicycle or hold a stick or branch as a deterrent
* Wear your sunglasses on top of your head
* Walk in pairs or with a group of people
I shouldn’t laugh because it seems that magpie attack is not uncommon in Australia and is a real public safety issue- yikes – thankfully it is a different species over there….
Where was I? Oh yeah so we scurried into the Green-house to do some major seed-sowing.
We sowed some broad beans and artichokes, and started off some annuals. I am particularly excited about the nicotina and night scented stock – I can’t wait to sit up the allotment on a summer’s evening inhaling the sweet scent. All those butterflies and bees too – lovely. Companion planting yes – but also because we are gardeners (as opposed to farmers) at heart.
Anyways this is what we got at the moment:
and here is an experiment:
It is a coffee jar, with a toilet roll filled with soil, with 2 melon seeds in it. It is too cold to start the melons yet- but we simply can’t wait! So Beener fashioned this mini green-house within a green-house. Our attitude is that it is worth a go – ‘get ’em in’ – if they don’t germinate then we have plenty of seeds left to sow them at the ‘proper’ time (april/may – allegedly).
We are happy to report that our Green-house has survived the recent harsh winds and Beener’s mum has some perspex from her green-house that we can have to replace the broken panes. (hooray for one for sorrow, two for joy lol)
We are at a stage now where one of us have to go up the allotment at least once a day to carry out watering. We have both been really surprised at how quickly the beds and pots dry out in the greenhouse – they were bone dry and I’d only watered yesterday. I also wet the wood chipping path inside the green-house and hopefully that will significantly increase the humidity. When we both realised the situation, we looked at each other with big grins on our faces, saying ‘how terrible we gotta go down the allotment every day …..’