"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Detering the hares

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RMan and I met our first ever blogger friends on Friday.  Rae & Dino from  African Bliss were on their way to Cape Town, and dropped in for too brief a visit.  How do you cram getting to know someone into an hour... :(  They are wonderful, open, friendly people - and we both wish that they lived closer.  Finding, and finally meeting, people that you have so much in common with is uplifting - and not to be squandered.  Thanks guys - for taking the time to break your trip, schlepping along our sand road, and for dropping in :)  Now, when are you next coming our way...? lol

This passed summer was a complete washout as far as growing sweetcorn was concerned.  Three full packets of seeds only produced eight sweetcorn pants - why, because the hares kept nibbling the tender young shoots.  Those few plants which did survive  battled.  (I lived in constant hope of more showing themselves above ground, especially as I planted the 2nd, and then 3rd packet, but alas the hares with their nocturnal visits prevent that from happening)

So, I tried manually cross fertilizing the flower heads - obviously I didn't do a good enough job.
Evidence of inadequate cross fertilization
Similarly, my pea harvest last winter was a disaster.
The centre of the sweetcorn husk showed distinct
seed head origins
And my cabbages...
Cabbages chewed to death by hares
But - I am of the opinion that waste not is want not, so even those mangy veggies were used.  After all a stir fry is the perfect recipe to "hide" misshapen items and baby sweetcorn tastes and looks the same as what my garden produced :)
Stir fry consisting of home grown sweetcorn,
Baby Emerald squash, carrots, cabbage,
the last of my fresh yellow heirloom tomatoes
 and onions.
I may be slow on the uptake, but once I get the full picture I will go all out to prevent the same situation from occurring again - ever...!
My old shadecloth veggie patch to the right of
the pic and the new one in the background
We have all those alien black wattle trees in the area around us.
Black Wattle droppers as walls - you can see in the
foreground how many pathetic sweetcorn plants
the hares left me
And once again they came in handy.
This veggie patch is slightly bigger than the
original shadecloth one - that will allow me an
extra veggie bed
Gum poles for corner and centre supports, with Black Wattle droppers fixed along the sides to form walls.
The new hare proof veggie bed, with my original
shadecloth one in the background.  We have used
the bark which falls off the wattle / bluegum firewood
we order for the Rosie as mulch in the veggie patch bed
pathways - hopefully that will mitigate the winter rain
sticky clay effect when I need to harvest some veggies
I'm please to tell you that it's working - the new veggie patch "walls" are too high for the hares to jump over and my cabbages and peas are coming on fabulously this winter :)

Next spring we will be adding a shadecloth roof which will allow me to grow veggies there during the heat of summer.  I'm not going to bother with shadecloth walls - the wattle "dropper walls" will suffice as windbreaks / dappled sunlight.  And anyway, the field mice eat a hole in the shadecloth so that they can access the goodies inside.  So adding it to the walls is pointless.


Harry Flashman said...

I'm glad you found a way to keep the hares out of your vegetables, that must have been aggravating. We have rabbits here but my barn cats are deterrent enough to keep them from the area around the buildings.

Years ago, there used to be "blog meets" here. Someone would set up a meeting place, on a weekend, and people would travel to it. Then you'd meet the folks face to face that you'd been communicating with. That practice fell out of vogue as the economy deteriorated and fewer people could afford the cost.

Mum said...

I hope you have a better harvest next time. Our sweet corn has been sown in pots and they are just peeping through. There's supposed to be a frost next week so we are waiting until at least the end of May until we plant them out.

Vicki said...

I'm glad you found a solution to the rabbit infestation. It is so disappointing to plant and have the critters reap the harvest. Long ago when I had a garden, the racoons would climb the cornstalks and nibble at the ears. The worst was the white tailed deer, whose hoofprints I found almost daily in the garden, who would check to see if their salad greens were ready. Luckily I could leave my dogs outside and that helped deter the pesky wild animals.

Quinn said...

You've reminded me of the movie with John Travolta where, at one point, he suddenly figured out how a rabbit was defeating all his efforts to keep them out of his garden. i loved that moment! I wish I could remember the name of the movie, as I really liked it. The plot was not about rabbits in gardens LOL!

Sue said...

I''m sorry-Dani--I just had to laugh at that corn. I know---it SOUNDS mean, but it isn't. It's just so........misshapen. Oh dear!

I have met a fellow blogger as well, and I can't begin to tell you just how wonderful she was. She lives 2000 miles away, and yet we keep plotting how to meet up again. That is the best part of blogging, because the people that read your blog (and vice versa) are obviously folks that share your interests. How great is that!

Have a wonderful week and good luck with the hares in your food--ha---a funny!

DFW said...


Absolutely love that wattle fence. I would love to have one. Maybe I can make one out of willow branches. Good luck with the hares. I have noticed both at the country house & will need good fencing around the garden before we plant. Although we won't be planting cabbage (maybe red) because that is what most of the commercial farmers in our area grow & we are tired of the stench of cabbage growing.

Dani said...

Harry - T'was my first time ever of meeting a fellow blogger - a very nice experience, I must say :)

Yeah, I have a feeling the RMan is going to have to allow a cat on the farm - between the mice and the hairs, I think it is needed...

Dani said...

Mum - With this fence I'm sure the hares will be kept at bay. I hope so lol Wow, waiting till the end of May doesn't give you that long a growing season does it?

Dani said...

Vicki - I have no problem sharing a tithe, but when the pests leave us a tithe then I have to get serious...

Dani said...

Quinn - I know the movie you mention. Phenomenon? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenon_%28film%29

Also loved it :)

Dani said...

Sue - Yeah, sharing interests is the common denominator, but to meet them and find out what nice people they are - that's the bonus :)

Dani said...

Dallas - Willow would work even better than wattle - it's far more flexible in it's green state. We're planting cabbage (and beetroot and carrots and pumpkins) for the alpacas too... :) (http://sustainablefibressa.blogspot.com/2015/04/vegetarian-alpacas.html)

African Bliss said...

Hello Dani & RMan... the feeling was totally mutual, so lovely to have met you both and to discover that we like you even more in "real life"... lol! Your little homestead is lovely and we're in love with your Alpacas. Hopefully we'll be back before long to explore a little more, maybe have a nice meal together around "Rosie", so keep holding thumbs for us XXX

Dani said...

AB - That would be excellent guys :) As always, thumbs firmly held...