Sunday, May 29, 2011

Darned Robins!

I love to see robins when we have endured a long, gray winter.  When I see them I know Spring is coming!  This time of year.......not so much.

My garden has been doing so well so far this year.  With everyone complaining about all the rain this Spring, I kept my mouth shut, because it has been a blessing for me.  Plants on the deck in containers drain the excess water, and the garden slopes slightly, both back to front and from side to side, so I haven't had any mud or drainage issues there either. But most of all - no watering!   Living in the city, chlorine and fluoride-laden water is not the greatest for the plants, and I have to pay for water!   Since my water bill has doubled or tripled in the last year anyway (has nothing to do with usage) I don't want to make it any higher.

I was afraid it couldn't last, and early last week I came out to find my squash plants and nasturtiums pulled out or clipped off.  I know crows and starlings also like to amuse themselves by pulling up seedlings, but I caught Robins in the act yesterday.  They also took their destructive little beaks to my Yarrow, Dill and one of my Roma Tomatoes - clipped the growing tip right off.   

I had all my Comfrey seeds germinate.  I didn't need a dozen plants, so I took a few seedlings to KSFF last weekend to give away.  Then I used a few more to make a (tiny) poultice when I dropped a piece of cement garden edging on my bare foot! (another story) That left me with two seedlings, which went into the new bed I prepared for them. Then the Robins hit!   'Tore one of the seedlings out, and not even to eat it, but just to leave on the ground.  They do that a lot and it makes me so mad.  The seedling still seemed green, and only a little wilted, so I stuck it back in the ground, since it was overcast, cool and rainy.   But they did it again!  Same seedling, pulled out and left on top of the ground the next day.  Grrrrrrrrr!  I stuck it in the ground again, and put a plastic bottle 'cap' over it to keep the birds away.    Several days later, I have....

This!   It may be tattered, but it has a growing tip/center that is green and growing!  Take that birds! 

I've been trying some 'companion planting' this year.  I've read up a lot on what plants go well together, what plants will repel bugs or diseases if planted near the plants I want to thrive.  So far, so good.   I have seen very little bug damage so far, unlike last year, when some of my plants were more holes than plants.  It's early in the growing season though......   

Here is one example.  Borage planted with strawberries is supposed to improve both the borage and the strawberry yield and flavor.   This is 3 plants of an everbearing strawberry variety.  They are huge, healthy, covered with blossoms and I've picked 2 pretty flavorful berries from them so far.    The borage is so big and healthy I have kept taking the leaves off one side so they won't cover/ shade the strawberry plants.  It's the same on my other container of June-bearing berries.    

I really wish this photo had come out better.  When I went outside yesterday morning, there had been a heavy dew, and everything was spangled with dew drops - including these strawberry leaves with crystal at the edge of every scallop. 

The pinks and blues of early Spring are lovely, but when summer comes, give me colors that sizzle! 

I've got blueberries!   I plan to pick up some tulle in the next day or two to wrap the plant and keep the birds away.  There are a couple of clusters this size.   I may harvest all of  a palmful, but it is nice to find my plant ("Duke" variety) is self-fertile as billed, and that I can grow blueberries on my micro-farm, in a container! 

Healthy, and yummy chard.

I still don't have my beans and eggplant in, and now the problem is the heat.  It is HOT out there, and I don't do heat well.  I have to dig out a big clump of Black-Eyed Susans before I plant though.  I missed my opportunity to get out early the last two mornings, so I'll try this evening or tomorrow.  I've got a few seedlings that still aren't quite big enough for the garden, but once I get the beans and eggplant in, that will be most everything done. 

Until next time from Wren Cottage......

1 comment:

  1. I remember as a kid that my dad had trouble with robins snipping off his tomato plants. He'd take cardboard gallon milk cartons (boy, does that date me!) and put them around all his plants to protect them until they got big enough that the robins lost interest.