It was all going so well. The warrigal greens were flourishing, even without being regularly urinated on. Deep-rooted sorrel was a stalwart when pretty much nothing else was happening in the garden at all. Both were in high rotation in the kitchen. I’ve always been a bit cautious about using them raw, since, along with other garden staples like rainbow chard and rhubarb, both of them have a fair bit of oxalic acid, which if you overindulge and/or are unlucky can cause kidney stones (although the idea that the latest “miracle foods” might have the potential to be dangerous causes outrage in some) . Given that rainbow chard, which is also quite high in oxalates, always has escaped animal attention, it seemed too much of a coincidence that the beasties seemed to leave these plants alone: those smarty pants critters were sensibly avoiding intestinal distress .
But look at my poor greens now:
Something is clearly tucking in.
There are a number of possible suspects. Judging from the robotic squeaks and buzzes in the undergrowth, there are satin bowerbirds still around. Rumour has it they are fond of fresh shoots – I blame them for the tatty foliage of my now past-it Purple King beans. It could be the chickens of course, but though the four new girls spend a lot of time in the area where the warrigal greens are (or were… *sniff*) only tricksy skinny Shyla regularly scoots through the gap in the bamboo gate into the veggie patch where I’ve planted the sorrel and, more recently, rhubarb (the leaves of which *are* toxic to humans, and have also been chewed in the last few days). So, in the absence of an extensive literature review on comparative rodent, marsupial and human tolerances of oxalic acid (I have tried!), I’m blaming rats or possums. I guess definitive evidence would consist of creatures with particular glossy pelts. Or creatures rolling around with excruciating abdominal pain. Or both.