Pests, Predators and Hungry Gaps

Here’s the one we made earlier – a bird scarer to hang in our apple trees – it’s over the currant bushes, so we hope it will deter some birds when the fruit begins to set. The key with any bird scarer is to keep moving it around, as birds soon get used to something that’s always in the same place.

This week I was workshopping with people on the subject of the hungry gap. The hungry gap is the opposite of a movable feast – it’s a movable famine! It happens sometime between late February and Mid April, depending on location and weather, and it means there’s almost nothing growing that can be eaten – lots of stuff growing but not yet edible, and lots of last year’s stuff that too old, dry, tough, woody or just manky, to put in a cooking pot.

It’s the time of year when one has to get creative with what’s available. Dried pulses are great at this time of year – we have borlotti beans and soldier beans, both of which are really good when cooked slowly with a tomato sauce and served with a green salad of the first spring leaves, such as rocket and basil, lovage and tarragon.

Also harvestable are purple-sprouting and perennial broccoli, all the kales (recipe for Kale Crisps to follow in next post) and the very last of the overwintered onions and leeks. There may be some bendy swedes, carrots and parsnips still around too, but make sure you cut out the woody cores. All year round cabbages are good now - the whitefly and caterpillars haven't arrive yet but they are too tough and bitter for the slugs and snails to want to bother with, having been established since January.

If you’re lucky you may also have the first of this year’s early radishes, and if the bottom pods are set, and about an inch and a half long, you may want to pick out your broad bean tops and stir fry them in butter – my experience is that if you don’t the blackfly get them, so it’s both tasty and desirable to prevent them having a free meal (and infesting the plant) at your expense.

Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, April 23, 2012


Anonymous Domestic Pest Control Services said...

That's a cute little bird scarer you made there. I have seen that model or real dead birds being used to deter other birds are effective. But is this cardboard bird just as effective?

June 13, 2012 at 3:53 PM  

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