Flippin’ pigeons!

I’ve planted a vegetable bed full of Kale; Cavelo Nero and Redbor. Not only a delicious multi functional vegetable, that we’ll be cropping until next March/April, but, also a stunner in the kitchen garden.

Sadly it’s not very stunning at the moment. Pigeons have been helping themselves to their young succulent leaves!

Kale eaten by pigeonsMy kale, savaged by pigeons!

I remember Monty Don speaking of similar issues in an episode of Gardeners World a few years ago. His solution was to dangle a potato on a piece of string from a hazel rod. The potato is even wings with collected feathers. According to Monty, this menacing imitation of a bird of prey will scare any self respecting pigeon away. I failed on two counts, firstly, I couldn’t find any feathers, so had to improvise with rosemary. Secondly, our VERY naughty Spinone puppy ate the potato!

The first pigeon defence systemPlan A – Pigeon defence system

So onto plan B. Bunting! I’ve heard all the wise cracks from my husband and children, but, so far so good!

Pigeon defence systemPlan B – Pigeon defence system!

The kitchen garden in November

November has been blustery, dank and murky. I’ve not spent enough time in the garden this month, the result a drab, decaying winter mess. Leaves have blown into large piles in the nooks and crannies around the raised vegetable beds and the kitchen garden generally needs a good tidy and weed for winter. This will make life far easier come spring and help bring back the defined structure of the kitchen garden, revealing some winter order and beauty. If I have any well rotted garden compost left (my herbaceous border has first dibs), I’ll give the vegetable and cut flower raised beds a good mulch, this not only suppresses weeds, improves soil structure and fertility but is an instant visual lift to any border.

My great triumph of the month has been successfully negotiating a ‘man and a digger’ from the husband for Christmas! Over the last year my kitchen garden has gradually come together, the rest of the garden is in a state and requires landscaping help. The husband sadly witnessed some of my shovel and wheelbarrow action in the kitchen garden, and presumed I could continue the rest myself, saving a pot full of money! So I’ve spent the last month slowly chipping away and gently negotiating the value and investment, ‘a man and a digger’ would be to our family. So fingers crossed come spring I’ll be rid of a 1970’s crazy paved rill, several large municipal style rose beds cleared then levelled ready for grass seed and the front garden prepared to build further cut flower and dahlia beds. As we all know a girl can’t ever have enough dahlias and cut flowers. November has not been a complete waste!

Below is my monthly summary in pictures.

The bulbs I planted in the cutting border have emerged and coming on strong, the mild weather we’ve had this Autumn/Winter seems to have given them a head start; I fear a cold spell might halt them permanently in their tracks.

Anemone Coronaria Sylphide shootsAnemone Coronaria Sylphide shoots

Drumstick Alliums shootsDrumstick Alliums

ranunculus aviv orangeRanunculus Aviv Orange

The messy vegetable patch.

Upper veg patch in NovemberThe upper vegetable beds

Staked KaleKale I’ve staked. They were getting battered by the wind.

Rocket in the greenhouseRocket in the green house, we are still cropping from the previous outside sowings

Viburnham Tinus in flowerViburnham Tinus in flower. We have a gorgeous mature hedge of Viburnham Tinus that divides the kitchen garden from the rest of the garden. It’s beautiful white flowers with a hint of pink are so valuable at this time of year and will make an appearance in many of my Christmas decorations.

Garrya in flowerGarrya in flower – the star performer in November

Garrya in a vaseGarrya in a vase, there is something quite angelic about the elegant flowers cut for the home


The kitchen garden in September

It’s been a glorious end to September, blue skies and low autumnal sunshine giving the garden a rich golden glow.

Our apples and pears have cropped heavily this year and we’ve started to pick our bounty. The pear trees branches are drooping heavily with weight of the fruit. Sadly I’ve just noticed an apple trees that is leaning at a 45° angle with the weight of its harvest. I’m hoping I can pull the trunk back up with a sturdy stake and a tree strap.

I’m still filling the house with flowers from the cutting border. The sunflowers are fabulous, but, it’s the dahlias that are the star of the show, they really take off into another dimension come the autumn. Long may the frosts evade us.

We continue to crop courgettes, tomatoes, kale, spinach, salad leaves, runner beans and beetroot. We’ve just started to harvest our butternut squash and borlotti beans. An oddity for this time of year, I cut our first crop of purple sprouting broccoli, I can only think I sowed it far too early. It was not a pleasant addition to our supper, six caterpillars were discovered floating in the water and further intruders were discovered on our plates. It’s not all rosy living the ‘Produce from the garden’ good life!

As usual here’s the September summary in pictures:

SunflowerInstant happiness! Cut and come again sunflowers.Cosmos PurityA sea of cosmos ‘purity’PearsPearsApple and pear harvestApple and pear harvestBorlotti beansBorlotti beans, dried in their pods on the plant. I can’t wait for a borlotti bean and sausage stew!Tomatoes in greenhouseTomatoes still going strong in the greenhousePlum tomatoesDelicious plum tomatoesHerb bedMy herb bed, packed with sage, thyme, parsley, oregano, chives and garlic chives with their beautiful white pom pom flowersButternut squash HunterButternut squash ‘Hunter’Runner bean flowersRunner beans flowering and cropping wellCourgetteCourgettesKale RedborTastes amazing, looks stunning in the vegetable patch and will see us through till springKale Cavolo NeroCavolo Nero, an italian kale perfect with pasta, it will also see us through until SpringPurple sprouting broccoliThe offending purple sprouting broccoli, fingers crossed it will be at its peak after Christmas