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Storing hyacinth bulbs and dealing with pigeons

Is it me, or do there seem to be a lot more pigeons about? Hundreds of them in fact! But if I think I’ve got problems with my poor broccoli being stripped to a skeleton, it’s the farmers I feel sorry for. Even with the bird scarers, they are still managing to decimate the crop in the field at the bottom of our garden.

I never used to bother growing brassicas and peas, calling them pigeon food, but I love these vegetables and want them in my veg patch mix so as much as I love our feathered friends and want to encourage birds into the garden I also want to protect my veg. So the battle is on!

If you are suffering from similar problems there are a few things you can use to deter them:

Netting the area in question – this has to be the best protection but you need to leave enough space between the plants and the netting or they will just sit on top of the netting, which then bows down and they peck away, they also push under the sides so they need to be secure.

Shooting is an option and my husband does have a gun but for what seems such a slow bird on the ground they are a remarkably quick and agile bird.

Scaring devices such as water pistols; reflective tape/foil; shiny cds; plastic birds of prey or ultrasonic devices can all be effective but usually are short-term solutions.

Hopefully I will not have to worry about them too much longer as with the aid of two old polytunnel hoops I am hoping to enclose my whole veg patch with netting. This can’t happen soon enough!

Hyacinths again and again

Having given us glorious scent and beautiful flowers it’s a shame to throw your hyacinths out when they have finished flowering, by storing them correctly you will be repaid with more of the same again next year.

All you need to do is cut down the flower spikes when flowering is over so the energy is not put into making seeds but leave all the foliage intact. Then find a sunny spot to leave them for at least six weeks so the foliage has completely died back, watering weekly.

Then you can either leave them in the pot if not too wet or lift the bulbs and store them in a dark, dry place ready for potting up again or planting them out in the garden in the autumn.

Originating from the mountains in Turkey, hyacinthus orientalis are generally used indoors but they do just as well outdoors coping with blazing hot sun and snowy cold winters. What a versatile bulb.

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