Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I spent a lot of time "gardening" yesterday but that mostly meant visiting the local nurseries and checking out their pots. I needed three pots for my mints and one pot for my front steps. I wanted a really pretty pot for the front, but I wanted plastic as it won't crack and won't suck out water like clay does.

The first stop was actually a hardware store. They didn't have any plastic pots, but they did have a large bag of vermiculite which I snapped up. I also looked at their plants and picked up a bleeding heart. I have a shady spot in the corner of the fences where it would be perfect. And I love bleeding hearts. I'll have to plant a hosta in front of it eventually. Bleeding hearts die out early and the hostas comes up later. So they ought to be happy together. But the hosta will be from a split of one of the hostas that we are already buying so it will be a year or two before I plant it.

Then it was off to Mahoney's. I had a good time looking at the plants they had, but bought nothing. I didn't like their cheap plastic pots. I liked the faux stone one they had, but I knew Pemberton Farms had one the exact same one. So I bought all my pots at Pemberton Farms as I liked their cheapo pots for the mints. While I was there I looked around for plants to put in the big stone one. I bought a pretty variegated yellow sage for height. I'll put one mint in that pot too, but I'm not sure which one yet as they haven't come. I also bought a couple of small yellow dahlias and some purple petunias. They call the petunias blue, but really I think they look more purple. The mint will have some competition.

The side undisturbed by the birds

I also got to pick the first of my lettuce. No heads were chopped off, but a leaf or two from all the plants were taken. In addition I took some chives, some Fun Jen, mizuna, and tatsoi. Not much from anything, but enough to make a nice salad. While I was under the row cover, I thinned out the turnips. I ate them as micro greens, but they weren't heavy enough to weigh.

As I was picking the lettuce I noticed that the birds had been in to it. I also noticed they had plucked up a few of the cilantro seedlings. The birds are back. The birds in my neighborhood are vicious. There is a flock of European sparrows that are like locusts. A neighbor a few doors down keeps a constant supply of bread for them on the road. Well bread is a boring diet and they love to come to the garden and mow it down. I loved the birds at my last house. As I was telling Villager the other day, at my old house my birds were nice. They ate the insects. They never mowed anything down, and only occasionally stole things like a cosmos seedling for their nests. Here we don't have a nice mixed flock of birds. These are city birds. They hear about a sale going on in Daphne's Dandelions and brawls break out.

Needless to say I had to do something and I was really worried about them finding the peas before they were big enough to withstand the attack. So out came the netting and the old tent stakes. I covered most of it up. I hope that saves my poor plants. They can still get to some of the peas and can get inside the netting if they try, but I'm hoping it is enough of a deterrent. I want to make sure to get the netting off before the peas start climbing though. I would hate to have the netting tangled in the pea vines.


  1. Sparrows were the enemies of my garden the past couple of years. My neighbor had bird feeders out, and just like you said, they had to top off the grains with the greens. The new neighbor has wind chimes instead of feeders, and I plugged the holes to my bird houses, so the sparrows have pretty much relocated. Now I just have to try to keep the quail from eating everything. They've already found my unprotected lettuce and an entire row of radishes.

  2. Great you found the plants you want. I have the same problem, but refuse to shop for them (saves gas that way). So I suffer with what I find when I'm out for other reasons. hehe.

    Sorry about the birds. Nothing flying touches my plants, but my hens will if I don't ark them.

    As for your maple tree issue, I don't recommend doing what my neighbor did to my 40 year old cedars, he poisoned them so I'd have to remove them. I have no proof, but that's the only explanation the entomologists could come up with. hehe.

  3. That's a lot of shopping and decision making. I can't believe you were able to pick any lettuce. I'm going to take mine out of the cold frame this weekend and put them in the ground. Broccoli too. How different the opposite end of the state are.

  4. I leave out unsalted shelled peanuts, which Trader Joes sells cheaply, for the birds and other critters. My garden is pretty much left along except the loathsome stuff that goes after cabbages.

  5. Hmmm...I never thought of keeping an eye on the birds in case they were snacking on greens! Last year I thought they were trying to steal my radishes as it looked like it had beak marks on them. I hope your nasty birds relocate soon!

  6. There are a lot of birds in our garden too but luckily, they don't seem very interested in the veggies. They do however love the worms and will scratch at the soil. They especially love it when I turn over the beds and expose a few.

    I'm getting some potted mint this year way am I planting it in the garden.

  7. I'd love to see the pots. Pls post pics. Also pics of tent over the peas. I haven't noticed birds picking up planted peas, but most did not come up, so I've planted more seeds.

  8. Haha, yeah, sparrows are evil! I never had a problem with them in my gardens, but at work in the nursery, they're a pain. Even with netting - they just sit down on the netting, making it sag down between the stakes, and keep on eating.
    Now I'm hoping the neighbour's cat (who is allowed in the nursery to catch mice) will take a liking to sparrow-hunting (he already hunts and catches doves)!

  9. I get chickadees, nuthatches and finches at my feeders and never have had them get into my garden. We did have some problem starlings last summer, but enough of them got lead poisoning that the rest decided to go elsewhere...

    I'd love to see your mint plantings ... I planted some chocolate mint into an old wooden crate last weekend and am happy with the way it looks ... also got a great deal on some half wine barrels at the local Ace Hardware ... I'm going to have fun with those ...

  10. This must be a wonderfully therapeutic hobby and best of all eat the fruits of labour :)

  11. Quail? They must really eat a lot. Hmm If they eat your veggies are you allowed to eat them? Quail sound pretty good.

    Sinfonian, wow he poisoned your cedar? I doubt you could poison a maple tree anyway. This one is a weedy one that is coming up from an old rotting stump. I'm trying to convince them that it would be nicer with a smaller tree.

    Commonweeder, yes we are very different. I think your climate is more like northern New England. We have very moderated temperatures because of the ocean. We don't get as hot in the summer usually either.

    Karen-Ann, my last one was too (well the chipmunks were evil there). I figured I'd have even less trouble with wildlife in the city, but boy was I wrong.

    Holly, Well you will know if they do. They really rip the plants apart. I don't think they killed any and they will recover.

    Thomas, my old birds would eat the worms and insects too. They just never ate my greens. And I couldn't imagine planting mint in the garden directly. I'd never get rid of it.

    RandomGardner, I'm not posting a pic of the tent over the peas, because you would never see it. I can barely see it when I walk by. The bird netting is almost invisible. The pot has had its photo taken for today's post.

    Ivynettle, I hope my birds aren't that smart. Hmm we have four cats that are regularly in my yard. They leave me unwanted gifts all the time. Maybe they will take up bird hunting. I have noticed there are no chipmunks in this yard like there were at my last yard. I'm thinking they take care of those. Squirrels, grounhogs, and possum they just look at.

    Deb, my mints haven't shown up yet. I hope they come soon. They will probably be the last package received this spring.

    Chopinandmysaucepan, it is

  12. I have netting over the peas and the tender greens for that very reason - darn birds will enjoy some fresh fare if I don't keep them out. Luckily the netting does the trick.

    Glad you found your pots and had fun shopping!