Growth has been a littler gentler in the Pocket Handkerchief Garden this week. Which is probably a very good thing as after last week we really don’t have any space left anywhere. But everything that has made it as far as plant form is shooting steadily upwards. One of the sweetcorn seedlings got a little buried in some overly enthusiastic watering so I unearthed it a little and I’ve got all my fingers crossed for its survival, not least because I can’t image the drama if I only have one corn on the cob to serve between two girls at the end of the harvest. My rainbow chard is looking well settled and most of the seedlings are now sporting secondary leaves, but the spinach has either been eaten or scratched out by the wretched cat; I think I’ve got about five seedlings left; it’s a good job I didn’t thin them or I’d have precisely nothing.
But it has propelled me into taking some cat-prevention action, thanks to everybody’s conclusion that netting was the only way forward and Mandy’s very brilliant suggestion as to how we went about it.
It’s genius, it’s virtually idiot proof and if I can set this up while Elma and Grandpa did the watering and Pip tried to both escape and eat my camera, then anyone can.
I’ve got two 6 foot beds in the garden, both of which needed to be covered. I bought a pack of 20 wooden flower stakes, each 60 cm long, and nice and sturdy with it; a giant piece of netting, a packet of metal netting pegs which look like flimsy tent pegs, and the cheapest 15 metres of hose I could find.
I stuck stakes in each bed, in pairs of four, and then used a stanley knife to chop the hose into lengths of roughly 1.5 metres. The precise length doesn’t matter, you just want them to all be about the same.
Pop one end of a piece of hose over one stake, and the other over it’s matching pair and you have a very snazzy lightweight hoop, perfect to support the weight of the netting, but I suspect fragile enough that the birds can’t use it to land on and peck at my strawberries through the netting; well not the fat pigeon anyway.
My original plan was to cover both beds with one net to give the children a tunnel to crawl in underneath, but the net wasn’t big enough and I think it looks smarter how it is.
I pegged down the first net and then cut the rest off and the remainder isn’t quite big enough to cover the second bed all the way down to the ground, hence the stakes and clothespeg arrangements I’ve got going, and in due course I’ll get another length of netting, but most importantly, for now the cat has been evicted, the garlic is starting to look less squashed and the surviving spinach is finally in with a chance.
The only one disappointed is perhaps our sweet little Pip, temporarily thwarted from digging holes and trying out all this delicious soil, but I’m sure he’ll find a way around before too long.