Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Summer in the Garden

Good old Agapanthus. You either love them or loathe them, but if you live with very dry summers they will quickly become your friend.

With their green strappy leaves they always cast a soothing cool impression in the driest of gardens, driveways and gate entrances. The tall stems of blue or white flowers are the added bonus at this time of year when there is not much flowering.

 The honey room and meat processing shed, fits comfortably in the landscape with Aggies softening the edges.

It's dry. Very dry, but the earwigs are still just as active and destructive, so we have brought in this new line of bug control defense.

In total there are six new Pekin bantams. With their short feathery legs they can scratch all day among the plants without doing much damage besides moving the mulch.


With access to all areas of the large house yard gardens, the smallest bantams are able to squeeze through the spaces in this wire that surrounds the kitchen garden...

... and so far they have not damaged this section of young basil and coriander plants, preferring to scratch around the rhubarb plants where multitudes of earwigs live; but I know I need to put some wire cages around the seedlings ASAP.

Bird netting and temporary shade over the pumpkin plants. I've left little gaps so the Pekin bantams can get underneath to keep cool and to scratch out earwigs.

(Photo by Emma)                                                                        
 In the large vegetable garden however, another family of bantams work hard all day to keep the earwigs and harlequin beetles under control. These are Jap bantams and are even smaller than the Pekins.
We cover the small seedlings under wire cages until they have grown large enough to withstand a little bit of scratching around the base of the plants.  The little Japs don't inflict any damage to the grown plants as shown here among the zucchinis, with small capsicum plants still under the wire cover.



As if earwigs, Harlequin beetles and scorching heat aren't enough to challenge any gardener, we have plaques of sparrows too.  These little pests love to peck the tiny new beans and all tender young shoots, so some Christmas tinsel is this week's scare away tactic. We need to change the scare every week because they become used to each method we try.

Every gardener has their challenges and we need to find ways of dealing with them without using chemicals or brutal means.
In the north of our country gardeners and poultry keepers are dealing with huge lizards and various feral animals. I'm not sure I'd like to come face to face with a wild pig or a carpet snake.. ergh!!!
Ooh, our little Jap bantams would be easy pickings for a huge snake.

How do you deal with your gardening challenges?

Cheers and thanks for dropping in.

Sally XX

(Photo of Jap bantams by Emma A Simple Living Journey)





17 comments:

  1. I love Agapanthus. They are so hardy and it survives in Wallum Country which is why it is in my garden.

    King Parrots and possums are our main food competitors here. We have lots of birds that feed on insects, and robber flies and dragon flies, and parasitic wasps all of which helps. Oh and frogs and toads - they eat lots of insects too. I was watching a fire fly on our screen door one night, I had turned the lights off to see its little flashing light all the more clearly and a green frog climbed up and ate it. So then I watched the light flicker and pulse in the frogs throat. For me it was like a nature documentary right at my front door.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a beautiful diverse eco system going on there Sherri. Oh fireflies, how I adore them. Of course to us down south they are very exotic, but I have fond memories of the first time I saw them at Barrington Tops Nat Park in NSW. Then, whilst living in Nepal, they were always about during the wet season, in and out of my kitchen open doors and windows. Seeing the glow from the frog's throat is indeed like being in a David Attenborough doco.

      Delete
  2. you have beautiful gardens, even in the dry! love agapanthus too, always put on a lovely show, also hippeastrums are good too.
    love your old honey shed, looks like it may have been a dwelling? just love old buildings & their history.
    lovely post
    thanx for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Selina, the poor plants are sad during summer but I won't use lots of water on them. Just enough to keep them alive. I'll let you in on a little secret; the honey shed was actually built by Brian approximately eight years ago from recycled galv sheeting, so it blends in with our other old original sheds.

      Delete
  3. Agapanthus are great. Some of our plants need thinning out but of course we need to wait for rain. They offer colour where otherwise it can be a little dull. Love the chooks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also need to thin some clumps Brigie, and plant more along some of the garden edges. My list of garden jobs come autumn is as long as my arm.

      Delete
  4. I so love your little Jap Bantams, I'm quite enamored with them and will absolutely be getting our own when we get a veggie patch up and running! I too detest earwigs with a passion.

    Your garden is amazingly green at this time of year with your vines, trees and aggies about the place. Especially considering it has been so hot and dry.

    I'm surprised your bantams can get into that little middle veggie patch, I thought they were bigger then the fencing!

    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your squeals of delight and the beautiful photos Em! You really captured them well. The other small Pekins that still fit between the wires must have been hiding when you were here. The rate they're growing, they won't fit through much longer, and then I'll leave the little garden gate open for them when I want them to go in.

      Delete
  5. Sally, we had agapanthus growing along our front fenceline but had them pulled out so that my hubby could get to the kikuyu growing around them. The kikuyu had taken over well and truly so it took many weeks of pulling it out in the front garden. Now I am on kikuyu and let him know when I see some as only he can oull it out properly. LOL! The cockatoos are our main problem here as they pull the macadamia nuts off the trees before they are ready to pick and they get wasted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Chel I know the pain of Kikuyu as I made all of the house yard gardens in what was once Kikuyu lawn. Many hours of digging and constantly weeding it out over the years and there's also Kikuyu growing among some of my Aggie clumps. On the good side, there's always some green to pull out and give to the chickens during the dry months when the paddocks are brown. We have all types of cockatoos and parrots here too; funny to watch but painful to see them eating our nuts and fruit.

      Delete
  6. I have one agapanthus that has flowered this year. It was a young plant that I was given about three years ago. I put it in a pot and forgot about it until it flowered this year. I rather like this flower. Does it make a good cut flower?
    I picked my first tiny fig harvest this year. I have not grown figs before so it has been a bit of trial and error to get the plant to this level. I cut open the first one and it was full of fruit fly maggots. Sadly every little fruit was full of these blasted creatures. So it is off to the compost for this lot. The neighbour who sprays everything all the time hasnt had much luck at his place either. He even has some of his lemons with fruit fly strike. They are bad this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear about your fruit fly problems Jane. We're thankful not to have fruit fly here in SA due to very stringent border control laws. Agapanthus will grow in even the most inhospitable conditions so your plant in the pot will be in heaven, no wonder it has given you a flower. Yes I do think they make a beautiful cut flower, long lasting in a tall vase with their long stems or a short vase and just the flowers making a pretty bunch.

      Delete
  7. What a cute little cottage for preparing honey and meat, Sally. My first chickens were Pekins. I loved their adorable natures. They were great with human kids too, and made great mothers to their chicks! I never had to worry about them destroying the garden when free-ranging. The bantam Araucanas, on the other hand! Well, they were just made for digging.

    Have you tried hanging CDs/DVDs yet, to deter the sparrows? I get the King parrots lately (and Rosella's) trying to eat my cherry tomatoes. They seem to have lost interest recently though. My next challenge is the grasshoppers, eating the leaves off everything I manage to grow in containers, lol.

    It seems putting up netting, or white shade cloth would fix these problems. But then the bees couldn't pollinate the herbs which have gone to flower either. And I like to save their seeds. I think I'll have more success, growing in Autumn/winter, when the pests are naturally down. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CDs, wine cask bladders and other shiny objects are all on the rotation of bird scaring devises Chris. When the sparrows brazenly figure out that each of them is not so scary, we change them over. Certainly all things need considering when using nets and shade cloth. In our case the large vege garden has 50% shade cloth over the top with the sides open to allow bees and other beneficial insects but unfortunately the sparrows too. It would be lovely to enclose the sides with bird netting, but the bees don't like going through netting. We've placed one of our bee hives in the vege garden under the shade so they pollinate the tomatoes, cucumbers etc but can still fly out of the garden and further afield. I can't believe how humanised the Pekins have become, I love having them follow me around while weeding and doing garden maintenance. Definitely keepers. :-)

      Delete
  8. Hi, Sally. Love the agapanthus!! My garden has been a lot less productive over the Summer and that's really due to me not paying it the attention it has needed. Last year, we had a bumper cucumber crop and this year something has chomped on almost every single one! That's gardening! I don't use any chemical sprays at all and, while I lose a few things here and there (like the cucumbers), in general I find that nature finds a balance. Meg:)
    p.s. Love you earwig eaters!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ellen (or Meg)it's so disheartening to lose our plants to uninvited hungry pests. Most of our early plantings were destroyed by earwigs and sparrows, but we planted them all again and this time are having better luck. The decorative gardens are really feeling my neglect, but it's too hot for working in the garden and my energy is put into hand watering to keep things alive, and all the other animal care jobs at this time of year. Thankfully, the garden comes into its own again in autumn through to Spring, and the weather is far more conducive to physical work.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...