Blackbirds unearthing your plug plants – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

Harrumph! That’s what I say. I planted all my veggies last weekend, and have been having a bit of a battle ever since. Each day I go out to have a quick look at the plants and to admire my veg garden, only to find that yet again the leek seedlings have been pulled out of their holes and left lying around looking very sad and sorry for themselves.

The culprit? Blackbirds.

I caught one in the act plucking the leek straight out of the soil and then digging around in the hole for worms and grubs. Clever blackbird. It’s a little annoying though, for my leeks (and a few other plants that got the same treatment until I firmed them in or covered them with mesh net).

Today I puddled them all in again (by which, I mean that I put the seedlings back in the holes and watered them in rather than filling in with soil and firming down as you would with other plants) and I hope that they will stay put. If not, it’s more mesh netting until they are settled in and have got their roots down so that they can’t be turfed out of their spot.

Speaking of puddling in, let me mention another thing which is a question I asked myself when planting last weekend – when you plant out, is it okay to not water the plants if there’s rain on the forecast that day? I’m not sure it is, not unless the soil is already holding a fair bit of moisture. When the soil is very dry, as it was last week when I planted out, it makes it harder for the water to get properly soaked in. I chose not to water my plug plants because there was heavy rain on the forecast overnight. Instead I soaked their roots, planted them out and then let the rain do the rest. However, the soil is still quite dry, even now after the heavy rains from earlier in the week. The plants are doing ‘okay’ but don’t seem to be thriving as I would expect – there is some discolouration in the leaves, and I’m guessing that’s because they’re not drawing up enough water and nutrients through their roots because the soil is a little too dry.

My thinking is that tomorrow (Saturday) I will really water the veg garden well – a proper drenching, with some liquid feed – and then leave them for a few days to see how they bounce back. I think that’ll be what is needed. In hindsight, I would have been better off puddling in my plants when I planted them out so that the soil around the base of each plant then held enough moisture that the subsequent rainfall got properly absorbed and nourished the plants.