Frilly kale: a way to beat pigeons?

peacock kale july 14

I have a bit of a problem with wild birds. Having spent most of the year feeding the things they then repay me by stripping the fruit bushes of every morsel of food (the blackbirds), crapping on everything in the sheds (swallows), making a mess of the paths by tossing mulch everywhere (blackbirds again) and chewing their way through the brassicas (pigeons). And I can’t see that those tits, which are still seemingly stuffed with peanuts, are eating many aphids or other pests.

My ‘hawk’ kite worked quite well to keep the pigeons off the cabbages for a while but the birds seem to be getting used to it now even though I keep moving it around. But I have noticed that, although the pigeons tried to ruin most of the cabbages, cauliflowers and Brussels, I have made some other observations. Firstly the pigeons seem to have left the plants near a wall alone, almost as though they could not manoeuvre themselves onto the plants in such a difficult spot.

But another observation is that they have never attacked some of the brassicas at all. The plants that have escaped are the varieties with frilly leaves such as kale ‘Bolshoi’ and the ‘Peacock Kale’ (above and below). I can only assume that the pigeons see the frilly leaves and assume that they have already been eaten!

peacock kale july 142

The ‘Cavello Nero’ (‘Black Tuscan’) kale (below) has also escaped attack too. Whether this is due to its appearance or simply because because of the shape of the plants or the dense planting I don’t know but it is good to have some plants escaping attack. It also confirms that the pigeons find the plants by sight rather than smell – unlike the butterflies which are less fussy and will lay their eggs on any brassicas.

cavelo nero july 14





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