Protecting your plants from their predators will ensure success. Think about what types of predators may be prevalent in your outdoor space. Mine include cats, birds and minibeasts. It seems that all the cats from the street, including my own, descend upon the vegetable garden. I don’t blame them; the beds probably look like giant cat litters to them. Cats don’t tend to like garlic, so I sprinkle some of that around. I also net some of my beds which helps protect against all three ‘pests’. If you are using net, which is helpful to keep out butterfly’s and therefore caterpillars, you will need to think about the size of the holes in your netting. I use the term pests lightly as I know the ecology of life requires birds and mini beasts but if vegetables are to be grown, we need to protect our plants against them.
As with fertiliser I don’t like using harsh chemicals which upset the balance too much. Some suggestions could be, broken eggshells as a good snail and slug deterrent. They don’t like the sharp feeling as they slither over them. Eggshells also fertilise the soil too. Copper ribbon wrapped around plant pots is another excellent deterrent for slugs and snails. Apparently, their slime reacts with the copper and they receive a small shock that they don’t like. There is also a world of shop bought deterrents. I have gravitated towards the Neudorff products as my experience with their products has been great when I have had minibeast issues. These are just a few suggestions but do look around and find out what’s best for you. There is plentiful information online with regards to pest control.
Growing vegetables is fun and reaping the rewards is great. Flowers can also be just as rewarding to grow. From perennials to biennials to annuals, the choices are massive and cater for every grower’s wants and needs. Mostly I have kitted my garden out with perennials. I find them easy to manage as they come back year on year meaning I can focus on the vegetable patch and all other aspects of life. I do plant annuals/bedding plants in my pots and hanging baskets and usually source these from the gardening shop or my mum’s greenhouse. Forgetting to water pots is my main challenge but a couple of years ago I came across water crystals. You sprinkle them in the soil of your pot, and they help hold the water for better distribution. They allow me to forget to water some days and make sure the plants don’t die of drought.
Our household desire to be marginally self-sufficient has prompted us to rear our own chickens, to produce eggs for us to eat and share with family and friends. I am also hoping that we can make use of their poop in the compost heap that I’d like to start. Chickens are also excellent foragers and will eat the plant eating minibeasts in the garden. I think of chickens as a win win pet.
We didn’t take this decision to keep chickens lightly and did plenty of research before settling on the decision. That said things don’t always go exactly to plan! We purchased three chicks at two weeks old and brought them home to join our family. Gertrude, Chicky and Mavis have been staying in the house with us in a heated container until they are old enough to stay outside fulltime and without the heat. The house now has a farmyard like aroma, which we have all grown used to. That and the smell of incense! The weather has enabled us to allow the chickens to be in their run, in garden through the day of late. They look super happy scratching around on the lawn and it’s much easier than barricading a space in the living room where the cats frequent.