Friday, 3 August 2012

It Hits The Fan

Gardening in a region where you're almost always surrounded by sheep has its obvious pitfalls...
Sometimes those sheep or their mischievous little lambs find a way past the fences you put up, because they can see that not only is the grass greener on the other side, but there are also tasty things other than grass to chew on.

One or more of those sheep got over a fence recently and wreaked havoc among the crops I'd planted, trampling some while eating the tops off others...
They seem to love eating fiddleneck flowers

...and of course crapping on all the vegetable beds.
They even chewed most of the leaves off a low-hanging branch of this damson tree, which is more something that I would expect goats to do.
As if the rabbits weren't bad enough.

Back on a windowsill, what initially looked like a blueberry it now seems is not; I don't recognise these flowers:
Do you?
Meanwhile, most of the tree seeds that I have tried to germinate so far, haven't.

I've had no success so far with Strawberry Tree seeds sown after 6 or 10 weeks of cold-stratifying, and only one Scots Pine seemed to germinate weakly after 6 weeks.
I'm not sure why it got thin at the base like that, but it may have something to do with hibernation times, or could just be a dodgy seed.

Scots Pine seeds seem to have been the most successful so far, germinating about 50% of the time, though half of those become weak and fall over (or get knocked over by pets):
These were sown after 10 weeks.

The one Monkey Puzzle seed that germinated, out of four that I planted a few months back, eventually succumbed to a fungal infection and snapped off the stalk. I'm thinking that maybe I need a lighter potting soil to sow some of the seeds in than the garden-variety compost that I've been using.
Also, since all four Elaeagnus cuttings that I tried to propagate indoors appear to have slowly died, I think I'll make up a rooting mix from brewed willow next time I try and do that, in case that can help them to establish. Forgetting to clip their remaining leaves in half can't have helped either.


  1. That looks and sounds to me like the seedlings are getting waterlogged. Happens to a lot of mine, and anything from fungal infections to stem rot seems to be the manifestation. Making sure the soil has good drainage and that you're not watering them more than they need might help.

    I had good luck germinating fresh goumi berry seeds just in damp soil stored in a loosely-closed plastic bag kept at room temperature for three or four weeks.

    Wish I had any worthwhile advice about the sheep. But nobody has any worthwhile advice about the sheep.

    1. Damn, you're probably right there, I have been worrying a lot about watering plants enough, usually giving them some water every 2-3 days and leaving a big pool in their drip-tray if I'm going away for several days.

      Permaculture theory might suggest using a structure to exclude the unwanted 'element' of a neighbour's sheep, i.e. a bigger fence. Common courtesy might suggest animal 'owners' have fences big&strong enough to keep them in, but that's rarely practiced as it's hard to contain animals on a tight budget.