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Protecting Kitchen Garden from Wildlife

I worked very hard last spring re-activating quite a large kitchen garden on my property and then proceeded to plant a wide range of fruit and veg. Whilst I covered the fruit bushes and strawberries, other plants such as cabbage, carrots, broccoli etc. were soon decimated by the wildlife, including pigeons, pheasants, partridges and rabbits. A new fence eliminates the rabbit issue but I'm thinking I'm going to have to buy covers for all of my veg this year unless anyone has any alternative suggestions, other than building a watch tower!.
Any suggestions from your own experiences would be welcome, many thanks.


  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    I have to put bird netting over all my veg beds, not to protect against avian attack but to stop the cats treating them as convenient toilets  :#. You could try a couple of scarecrows, CDs or shiny paper dangling nearby, but from past experience the birds quickly rumble things designed to scare them off and promptly ignore them.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    You have my sympathy, Mike! I gave up trying to grow anything edible because of this battle - we had moles, too. I just didn't want a garden that looked like a high security zone. I had enjoyed wildlife until then, but found that I was beginning to hate every living thing and to dread going out into the garden where I would see the destruction. It cost a fortune, too. I put in shrubs and flowers and buy my fruit and veg in the supermarket.
  • FlinsterFlinster Posts: 883
    We have numerous pigeons in the garden- I can’t stand them lol! I’ve started new veg beds this year and so far they haven’t been interested. However, I find all they do is hang around the bird feeder waiting for debris.. all day, whilst crapping all over the fence and trampoline while they wait! So it may be worth setting up a feeding station just nearby to tempt them away? They are such lazy, opportunistic birds, anything for an easy life! Having said that, sparrows can be a problem too- they like beetroot leaves apparently?
  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Posts: 1,089
    edited April 2019
    @mike.mps Netting or fleece really is the only practical solution I'm afraid Butterfly's or the caterpillars can decimate crops of cabbage etc so a netting with a small enough mesh is needed to keep them away.

    You can buy imitation raptors you hang on a fine line and pole to keep birds off not sure how effective they are?

    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy Posts: 6,750
    I agree netting is the only real solution to birds. I was just commenting on another thread I am in the middle of the annual ritual of moving the cage I use to protect the Brassica plants on my Allotment. I erect a cage approx 2m X3m I can walk into and grow all my cabbage broccoli etc in there. (Got fed up with bending under lower netting). 
    AB Still learning

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,081
    I have mice, voles, rats, pigeons, pheasants, rabbits and deer in my garden, as well as slugs and snails and cabbage whites and all the other panoply of insects and diseases. It can be frustrating, and you get a sort of cascade of problems - if you do one thing to protect against x, then y will get to them instead. For example, I don't do much direct sowing - only carrots and parsnips and I make a net tunnel over those after sowing which I take off once they've got going. If I leave a fleece or net tunnel over established root crops it gives the rodents cover from the raptors, so the net stays on long enough to keep the pigeons off the sprouts then comes off to stop the mice eating the roots.

    Everything else I start in modules. With peas and beans, once they have sprouted and the mice don't dig them up and are grown on enough to stop the pigeons pulling them out, and are tall enough to stop the slugs destroying them, they don't need any other protection except to keep the soil around them completely clear of other plants. If there's too much ground cover, the voles eat the stalks and kill the plants.

    I have a variety of frames and nets bought online from a supplier who sells the components separately, so I can easily make 'cages' to fit parts of beds. I have fine mesh to cover brassicas and only plant them out when they are at least 6 inches tall (to discourage the slugs).

    I do quite a lot of companion planting. There are some things I just can't grow - sweetcorn, for example. Everything wants to eat it. Carrots are pretty marginal, to be honest - I have more success growing them in pots. But most years I get a decent crop of potatoes, kale, beans, parsnips, beetroot and chard. You need persistence, flexibility and nets. Lots of nets.
    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • The moral of the story is, if you can afford to have a dedicated kitchen garden, then lots of netting should also be affordable. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • mike.mpsmike.mps Posts: 5
    Noted but wondered what specifically others were doing, looks like more posts and netting is the simple answer
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I do think netting is essential but look closely at the different types. If you want to exclude carrot root fly and butterflies as well as birds you will need the right gauge. Also, some netting allows birds to become entangled and they may die so take advice before you buy.
  • Womble54Womble54 Posts: 348
    Our dog seems to be an effective deterrent against birds, squirrels, foxes and other peoples cats. He has a flap so can get into the garden whenever he wants. He stands guard and chases off anything that comes into the garden. So I haven’t needed use netting.

    I have had to build a little fence to keep the dog out of the raised beds. 

    It’s probably not as cost effective as some netting, but he has other benefits too.
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