Birds, wasps and fruit

by Pippa Greenwood

The peaches ('Avalon') cropped brilliantly, producing the biggest fruits yet, but as soon as they approached ripeness, the wasps attacked.

PeachesIt's been a good year for many crops, but there have been so many critters feeding on the fruit.

Most years we lose a fair few apples to the local birds. I never really mind, although it is irritating when they peck small holes in fruits, which then succumb to the dreaded brown rot. (The signs of brown rot are raised beige spots, usually in neat concentric rings and a speedy, brown rotting of the flesh.)

This year the birds and the wasps have eaten everything in sight. The peaches ('Avalon') cropped brilliantly, producing the biggest fruits yet, but as soon as they approached ripeness, the wasps attacked. As a result I picked them a little earlier than I would have liked. We ate many of the peaches while they were still hard, before they too were spoiled by brown rot. They were still delicious, though. The first plums were all harvested yesterday as they too were targeted by wasps.

There has been a steady flow of blackbirds into my greenhouse - presumably after the tomatoes. I really adore blackbirds and hate the way they end up trapped as they search for snacks. Today alone I caught three by hand, then released them. They never seem to find the door themselves if I just leave them to it! The poor things are really having a tough time at the moment. I suggest putting some water out for them now, and letting them eat some of your fruit, too!

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Gardeners' World Web User 11/08/2010 at 09:05

Having spent about 5 hours over the last 2 days up a ladder picking plums next to a wasp's nest I can agree with their overabundance this year. Still, for someone petrified of wasps and scared of heights, being up a ladder surrounded by wasps and still filling 6 bags with plums I don't think I did too badly! Now let the jam and chutney making commence!

Gardeners' World Web User 11/08/2010 at 20:26

I have found so many pigeons trapped in netting down the allotment, its horrid to watch them but you can't seem to get close enough to help. They manage to free themselves as soon as you come over :)

Gardeners' World Web User 12/08/2010 at 19:57

Mrs Blackbird has just stripped my Blueberry, a lesson learned, nets next year, in the mean time its off to the supermarket.

Gardeners' World Web User 12/08/2010 at 20:47

I have to agree with you all. Growing fruit isn't the problem, but stopping others eating it really is. Something or someone has taken every one of my peaches! This is the first year the tree has produced a crop, and I was looking forward to about 8 fruits. The next time I looked I noticed broken green stems on the ground, and NO peaches! Could it has been the squirrels, as the tree is not in part of the garden that any human would see?

Gardeners' World Web User 14/08/2010 at 08:45

Our problem is a pair of blackbirds, which launch dive-bombing raids on anybody trying to pass our apple tree! My only hope is that their actions may keep the squirrels off the cobnuts for long enough to let me harvest them.

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