cage herbs

You our may be wondering what the cage is that appears in the background of my photos. Is it a rabbit, guinea pigs or chooks? Well, it is not animal, but vegetable. To be precise, it is my kitchen garden. You may well ask why herbs and vegies require a cage, but this one is not for keeping in, but for keeping out.

mint

In our old house, before we moved to the beautiful Central Coast last January, we had the odd nibble from hungry animals, but not enough to really bother us. Here we are next to a national park with a lot more wildlife, and they all have an appetite. I do appreciate that the beasties only want to eat my vegies, and not my person, like the bears in North America. Not sure how anyone copes with that. But I cant help feeling cheated when I nurture my tomatoe bushes until they are laden with fruit, only to find that i still have to buy. One particularly ugly incident involved a bush of risp tomatoes, where I counted around 80 small but perfect fruits.

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After a visit from the local king parrots, also known as king pirates, there wasn’t a single one left fit to eat. Here is the culprit:

parrot

Beautiful, aren’t they, but no manners to speak of. I am quite prepared to share. One for you, one for me. But the king parrots don’t play nicely. The ones they leave for me tend to look like this. Shame on you, parrots!

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Then there are the possums.

possum

Very cute, but besides the toms they also have a taste for parsley, coriander, lettuce and other assorted greens. In a pinch they will make off with the mint and basil too, not to mention the strawberries. Grrr! Hence the cage around my vegies. In my photos you see the one at the back of my house, mostly for herbs and greens, and I also cage my tomatoes now who reside on my front deck. We shall see who will win that battle.

caged tomato

But the biggest menace to any kind of gardening are the bush turkeys.

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They scratch up absolutely anything that is freshly planted and the range of plants they will eat must be legendary. DH bought me a gardenia topiary for my birthday, which silly me placed next to a low wall. The leafy part would have been too high for the bush turkeys to reach, but with the convenient access provided by the wall I soon had only half a topiary left. Gardenia, for goodness sake! I think the bush turkeys must be the goats of the bird world.

And they are unbelievable stubborn. I have seen one trying to get to a citrus tree which DH wisely shrouded in chicken wire after it was denuded of every single leaf. There was no way the bird could reach it anymore, but it didn’t give up easily. Considering it comes back every day to try again, you have to admire the persistence. No wonder it is the only bird of its genus, the macropods, that is not endangered. I just wish it practised its persistence in someone else’s garden. They fly too, so any enclosure needs a roof. I have even seen one fly over the M1 one evening, somewhat ungainly, but it made it. Watch out Sydney, the bush turkeys are coming! They breed like rabbits too. I wonder how long it will take for them to be declared a pest once they start scratching up the gardens of the politicians down there.

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