Homemade Cabbage Collars, Dandelions And Sad News About A Hedgehog

I thought I’d start by showing you one of the pots in my garden at home.  My pots are giving a good display of spring bulbs.  I planted the bulbs in layers last autumn and the daffodills flowered first and now it’s the turn of the Tulips and Muscari (better known as the Grape hyacinth).

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The bulbs were courtesy of ‘Spalding Bulbs’ as I joined their bloggers club.  So thank you ‘Spalding bulbs’, your bulbs have so far been beautiful.

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I also thought I would show you my dahlia plants that I grew from seed.  It really is easy to grow dahlias from seed and you get flowers from the plants in their first year.  I find it easier to grow the plants from seed each year, as it’s cheaper than buying tubers and saves all the hassle of storing the tubers over winter (especially as all my room for storing things is taken up by vegetables).

I sowed my seeds on the 7th March and when they germinated I transplanted the seedlings into small newspaper pots.  This week, as they were out-growing their original pots, I potted them on into slightly bigger pots:

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These dahlia’s are ‘doubles’, which I wouldn’t normally buy as the bees can’t get to the pollen, but my dad kindly passed the seeds onto me, so I thought I would use them, I’m looking forward to seeing them flower.

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At the allotment this week, my apple tree is beautiful with all it’s blossom:

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This week at my allotment site, I have noticed that there are thousands and thousands of dandelions.

Dandelions are amazing plants.  Did you know that a flower can actually fertilize itself and seeds can often be carried for up to five miles and a flower head can produce up to 400 seeds, but the average is 180. A plant may have a total of 2,000 to 12,000 seeds.

It’s not all bad either, no less than 93 different kinds of insects use Dandelion pollen.

Also, young leaves can be blanched and used in salads or boiled and eaten as spinach and the flowers can be made into dandelion wine. In fact every part of the dandelion is useful for food, medicine or even it’s colour for dye.

You can read more about this wonderful weed here

A plot on my allotment site

A plot on my allotment site

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Last week I planted out my first red and white cabbages of the year, at my allotment.  A couple of weeks before, I raked some blood, fish and bone into the soil ready for planting.

I covered my plants with my usual ‘DIY’ cage of bottles, canes and a net:

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I thought I’d point out to you my cheap and easy cabbage collars that I use.  By using cabbage collars, you can avoid the cabbage root fly from laying eggs at the base of your plants.  The Larvae are white, headless and legless maggots and they feed on the roots of brassicas.  This will cause your brassica’s to either grow weakly or just wilt and die.

The following year, cabbage root fly will emerge from the pupae which overwintered in the soil.  This is a good reason to rotate your crops each year.

Cabbage collars cost between £3 or £4 to buy a pack of 30.  To save money you can easily make your own by cutting a square of thick cardboard and then cutting a cross in the middle where the stem will go.  As the stem grows it can expand because of the cross in the middle.

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Place each collar around the stem and eventually it will decompose into the spoil, after it has stopped the cabbage root fly from laying it’s eggs.

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A Hedgehogs Attempted Rescue:

I try really hard to attract wildlife to my allotment.  I grow flowers and wildflowers to attract beneficial insects to my plot over the year, I feed the birds and have bird boxes, I have two ponds to attract frogs to eat the slugs, I garden organically and I have bug boxes and two hedgehog boxes.

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I love to watch the wildlife and if you were reading my blog last year, you will remember the hours I would spend watching the bees and other insects around my wildflowers (you can see my wildflowers from 2012 here).

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Yesterday I came across a poor hedgehog that had somehow managed to crawl into my wire netted cages, that were protecting my peas from the birds.  I am really not sure how he managed to get in there, as there is wire all the way around, he must have squeezed into the smallest hole.  You can see the cages below:

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When I found it, the poor little thing was breathing, but it wasn’t doing a lot else.  I called my friend Judy, (one of my allotment neighbours) and we decided to give it a drink in case it was dehydrated.  Judy picked it up and put it next to some water that I fetched, but the poor thing still didn’t move. It didn’t even try and curl up.

We checked it over and we thought that maybe one of its legs was hurt, so we put the hedgehog in a tub with newspaper.  Judy rang her husband who then rang their local vet, who agreed to check the hedgehog over.  Judy’s husband then very kindly came and took the hedgehog to the vet.

Unfortunately after checking the hedgehog over, the vet said that as his leg was badly hurt and it was extremly cold and dehydrated, he decided that the kindest thing to do was to put the animal to sleep.

I am really upset that the animal may have hurt it’s leg somehow on my wire cage, though I just don’t know how it could have done this.  Yesterday, I made sure there are absolutely no holes under, or in-between the cages, in the hope that this doesn’t happen again.

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Thank you for reading my blog, I am sorry it’s not a happy ending today.

I’ll be back again on Monday at approximately 4pm.

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16 thoughts on “Homemade Cabbage Collars, Dandelions And Sad News About A Hedgehog

  1. Oh, yes, it’s very sad, hedgehog is very useful animal. Last fall one of them came to my garden and he ate mice. But then the fox caught him and he died. We all were upset.

  2. It is really amazing how small a space a hedgehog can squeeze into.We have seen them almost flatten themselves to squeeze under our gate.

    As for dahlias – snap I’m growing some from seed too!

  3. Loving your wild flowers,there is nothing like them for encouraging our native insects, a lot of these characteristics are bred out of cultivated flowers for the sake of bigger flowers/hardiness etc. Sad about your hedgehog,you did all you could & we have to respect the vets advice,an injured animal would be at a disadvantage in the wild.I think it might have been attacked by a fox they can be quite determined to unroll them.
    Regards, Carrie

    • Hi Carrie, yes you are right and there are foxes around our allotment site. Thanks for having a look at my wildflowers, my seed is in the ground for this years wildflower patch, keep fingers crossed they grow.

  4. What a shame about the poor hedgehog, we used to have them every year but not for ages. Good idea bout the cabbage root covers i shall try that.
    Sue

  5. Wonderful, thanks for taking the time to blog this. You put up some great photos, information and techniques, will try those cardboard collars … but your enthusiasm comes beaming through and that’s inspiring.
    Also love the wildlife-friendly aspects of you allotment, trying to do something similar with ours.

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