Sunday, March 16, 2014

On making habitat in a market garden

Because I am trying to produce as much as I can of the space I have it is difficult to set aside space for small animal habitat. It is so easy to think that small animals can find space to live somewhere else but if everyone thinks that way they don't stand a chance.

I have tried putting bales of straw around for spiders and other insects to live in but I have found that they are a bit of a pain as they are perfect for mice to breed, but the pumpkins I grew around the bales did well because the bales kept the ground under them moist and cool. I don't think the mouse problem is worth keeping them though.

The thing that got me to make this post is that I have found that my shadecloth covers seem to be providing great shelter for a variety of frogs and lizards, both when the covers are up and when they are down. It is great to water or lift the covers and see frogs (even Pobblebonks which usually live underground) coming out, and skinks everywhere. At least I feel that I can help even if I can't offer some 'wild' area for them.
Without sprays the frogs and lizards have plenty of insects for food so they just need extra shelter and the covers seem to fit the bill.

With the onset of cooler Autumn weather my poor celery are starting to grow well. This is a 'Peppermint stick' variety. The colour of the stems is more like the red varieties but I realise that the colour is better (and the stripes more pronounced) if they are blanched. Maybe I will do that next year.

My green celery have already started to bolt with the heat of summer but I didn't want to be too late planting them. I might just have to buy some more in punnets for winter. I would like to sell bunches of red, yellow and green celery on my stalls. I just wish the red types were not so stringy.

Today, as well as spending most of the day digging new beds and digging up my strawberry patch, I pulled out the spent pumpkin plants and the melons that were too late to fruit. I now have a heap of beds to plant with winter veg. I will sort out what seeds to put in tomorrow. One of the beds will go into stem mustard. This is a new veg for me and it looks so interesting. It will be a real talking point on the tables.

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