Thursday, May 24, 2012

Protecting Carosello Blossoms

As if it wasn’t bad enough that the Little Brown Birds (LBBs) had a feast on my spinach seed, they decided to come back for more. It got personal when they discovered my cucumber-melons (Carosello). I describe Carosello in a previous post.

The LBBs eyeing my Carosello plants.

I had experienced ants eating my melon flowers before and at first thought that it was ants that were harvesting the flowers. But after keeping the ants out of my garden for a few days I looked outside to discover these eating my melon blossoms!


Male Blossoms eaten off my Carosello plant.

An immature Female Blossom eaten off the Carosello plant.

Alas the LBBs were at it again. These unwelcome guests decimated a whole crop of cucumbers, eating the female flowers just past the stigma. Bird netting is too much work for me, and I have had experiences in the past with birds getting past the netting so I decided to just protect the female flowers. I used a jewelry gift pouch to cover and protect my female blossoms. I only keep the bags on there until I pollinate the flower and the petals dry out. Then the birds leave the female flowers alone.

Jewelry gift pouches to save my blossoms.

A premature female blossom not yet in bloom.

After figuring out how to save my female flowers I mixed some habaneros with some water in the blender and sifted out the mixture into a spray bottle. Spraying the spicy liquid on the plants has really helped to keep the birds off the male flowers, though they continue to go after the female flowers. I suppose I will be buying jewelry gift bags for a while to come.

Another Carosello blossom is safe - for now!

16 comments:

  1. how interesting....I use the bird netting...otherwise the deer and rabbits get to my plants...ravenous beasts!

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    Replies
    1. Dear Donna,
      Thanks for your reply.
      I have no patience for bird netting.
      By the way - Happy Birthday!
      -Jay

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  2. When we lived in Phx we built a cage around the tomato plants and covered it with bird netting. It saved the crop. Check out http://annieskitchengarden.blogspot.com/2012/05/may-19-2012-thing-ii.html. She has a little box around some of her plants that protect them from the birds.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Peggi,
      That is pretty neat. I know that some people build large structures over there garden so it is fenced in from top to bottom. This is essential for gardeners out in the middle of the desert where Javalinas will come and eat your garden in one night. I'm a drive away from the desert proper so I don't get too much wildlife here.

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    2. Javalina are so destructive and mean. We didn't have them, just some crazy big brown birds that were trying to eat the whole crop of tomatoes. At first they were only eating the red ones. As time went on they were taking bites out of all of the tomatoes to see which ones tasted good. They drove me crazy until we put up the cage. A few did manage to get in the cage and couldn't get out. It was a whole lot of fun to try to chase them out. I never thought of covering the individual tomatoes with little bags. Great idea!

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  3. I had no idea birds would eat flowers. Good idea with the little bags! I am surprised the pepper spray worked - I thought birds couldn't sense heat. (Some birdseed is sold with hot pepper in it to keep the squirrels from eating it.)
    I haven't noticed any birds eating my flowers (knock on wood) - hopefully the bird feeders and all the bugs will keep them too busy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pepper spray hasn't worked well with the female flowers- just the male flowers. Perhaps some other critters are munching on the male flowers. I had a dream last night that some gophers ate everything in my garden. When this kind of thing happens I know I’m a little too worried about my garden.

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  4. Blighters, The only flowers that birds eat in our garden is yellow crocus, yes only the yellow ones. My cucumber are safe as they are in the greenhouse, wont grow outdoors where we live.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes- I've tried growing cucumbers in a greenhouse here. Unfortunately the only time of year that works is in the winter - and with an unheated greenhouse cucumbers become the first casualty when the temperatures get just below freezing.

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  5. Hope you get some fruit for yourself soon.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. I hope I can keep each variety straight.

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  6. Ahhh... you gotta love the challenges of gardening. You've come up with some novel ideas!

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    Replies
    1. Excellent, There is obviously a lot of know learn about great bird spikes. The bird netting is usually stops from landing birds in many areas using of the grave duty bird netting. Thanks for sharing this!

      Bird netting

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  7. I know this was a long time ago, but thanks for posting this! It's been driving me crazy to know what has been stealing my blooms and damaging them so badly. I love birds in the garden, but I'm going to have to spray my blooms with hot pepper spray. They are eating all my make blooms which is keeping my females from getting pollinated.

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    Replies
    1. You are more than welcome. I have been using bird netting for my blossoms this year. Best wishes with your cucumber harvests!

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