Plants in protective custody

Reflecting trends in Australia more broadly, the population behind bars in my garden is steadily increasing. The metaphor starts to break down there because my indigenous plants aren’t systematically and grotesquely over-represented in prison.  And it’s not collective punishment, more like protective custody.

Washing line vege netHere are some of the make-shift prisons keeping chooks and brush-turkeys at bay. Eventually I suspect I might just cage the whole veggie garden, as much to deflect the midsummer sun as to prevent raids by flying dinosaurs.  Some of our neighbours are already there, as you can see from this fabulous repurposing of a Hills Hoist.

In the mean time, I’m finding new and creative if not visually attractive ways of leveraging my pathological hoarding… from the tried and true bit of broken trellis…

… to recycled heavy rubbish finds.

So far mysterious steel objects from the side of the road 1: brush turkeys 0 (though not for want of trying).

There’s an array of objects yearning for landfill propping up veggie nets:

Old umbrella frame protecting salad greens

Old umbrella frame protecting salad greens

and then there’s the open prison: things surviving against the odds outside the fence that encloses the veggie garden.

Of course that’s making the assumption that the fence is high security. Somehow, I don’t think so:

Okay, my road-side finds are not quite quirky enough to function as garden ornamentation (I need to yarn bomb my umbrella!).  And I don’t think these pics will appear on Buzzfeed under “2014’s Best Organic Garden P*rn”.

Perhaps I should proudly locate my backyard in the fine tradition of rural homesteads featuring interactive museums of rusting Massey Fergussons and defunct Valiants, and in-situ galleries of op art reinterpreted in the language of car tyres, tarpaulins and giant piles of silage.

I’d like to flatter myself that the selling point of my carceral structures is functionality, rather than kerb appeal.  However, drawing on painful experience, I know there’s a strong possibility that around about the time my plantlets look like producing something edible, there’ll be a conspiracy between a brush turkey and a windy day and I’ll see roots wafting in the breeze.

6 thoughts on “Plants in protective custody

  1. You have certainly been ingenious in making all those plant protectors, using what you had available.
    I am planning a cage over my veges.
    Seems like it is completely necessary when you live near the bush.
    I have a nice crop of sweetcorn maturing now.
    Last year the corn was looking good too, but then all the kernels were eaten inside the husks, at night.

    • I’ve given up on corn until I get the critters under control (we have had to use rat poison, sadly – we have tried diamond pythons, tawny frogmouths, humane traps, but you have to draw a line in the sand eventually). I figure if they are going for my broccoli, the corn doesn’t have a chance. But I am thinking about netting or caging the whole garden eventually too. It doesn’t look pretty but it would keep the brush turkeys and maybe the possums out…

      • Yes, my corn eaters were rats, I am sure.
        At one stage they were nesting in my roof too.
        Very irritating and creepy to hear that rustling at dusk.
        Its wasn’t easy to block all the access holes with a cavity brick house.
        I had to resort to poison pellets too,
        No success at all with live traps either – they are pretty cunning I think.

  2. Hiya Matt, So glad you found our blog! It looks as though we have lots in common. We have quite poor soil from our perch too. For some reason I can’t officially approve your comment. It could be because I’ve logged in from another old blog, or it could be that we’ve moved our site to There are more up to date posts there. But I look forward to seeing more from your Part Time Permaculture project! We also sometimes have events so perhaps one day we’ll meet up and share backyard farming stories – Jen

  3. Pingback: Jailbreak! | Berowra backyard

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