Friday, 1 February 2013

Crops destroyed

We went to harvest some leeks. I expected there would be enough for one or maybe two more harvests. I was wrong. They were eaten to the ground. The photo is lousy, but you can see they were covered and there is almost no sign of a leek left. Looking around the whole site everyone else's leeks have suffered the same fate - except Norman's. He has covered his handful of remaining leeks with a complete covering of chicken wire mesh. Even then the few leaves that poked out through the mesh have also been eaten off. Something likes leeks. In previous years we have simply protected them with CDs hanging on strings when they were first planted to stop the birds pulling them up, then safely left them uncovered but this year something has changed. There are no tracks to be seen around the plot, there are lots of rabbit droppings in the hedge bottom behind our plot but as far as I can see there is no gap in our fence to let rabbits in. Besides, there is worse to come.

We have been growing broccoli and for the first time we have got it to grow well. I know pigeons like it, so I covered it with frames and netting, and so far it has be doing well. We had three separate patches each covered with frames and netting. Two have been eaten to the ground.

This is utterly dispiriting. Our vegetable harvest for the whole year have been destroyed by pests and once again I think it is rats. Birds would love the leaves of the broccoli, but not the thick stems. The stems have been gnawed through and not a trace of the rest of the plants are left. As you can see the frames are intact, but a the plastic net covering was pulled off and a piece had been gnawed through. This is not birds. There are other plots with cabbages and sprouts not covered up which are largely untouched, yet leeks and our broccoli have been destroyed when they were hard to get to.

I hope the parish council, our landlords to whom we now pay increased rent, will employ a pest controller to deal a serious blow to these rats - we cannot have another year like the last one.


Gregory Marler said...

I think it's Norman, nibbling away at everybody's leeks in the night!

Chris Hill said...

I reality you couldn't hope to meet a more pleasant, more helpful gentleman than Norman so I'm sure he's not to blame - but you did make me laugh.