Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Saturday 4 May 2013

PPP now means Pigeon Proof Pen

Hello! I've had an enforced break from blogging (reason: illusive cable snappage = no broadband) but I'm back and I'd like to welcome anyone who has found Purple Podded Peas via this lovely recommendation by that very nice chap Ryan in a rather good magazine called The Edible Garden (I'm not a huge reader of gardening mags, but this one is full of very interesting stuff).

So, what's all this about Purple Podded Peas? Regular visitors to my blog will know that I ramble on about all sorts of things, including our garden; but the peas haven't played a major role for the past couple of years mainly do to the ****ing pigeons. Now, I don't usually swear and I hardly ever cry, but the ****ing pigeons have made me do both over the past two or three growing seasons. I used to be able to grow tall wigwams of beautiful heritage peas with just a few pigeon-distraction measures in the early stages of growth. THEN (I can feel myself getting angry and upset just remembering this) the ****ing pigeons used nasty tactics; they waited until my peas were tall and covered with beautiful flowers and tiny pods and in a dawn raid they demolished the lot!

Something had to be done.
a) I could give up growing peas (I have saved seeds of over a dozen heritage varieties, most with purple pods) – that's not going to happen
b) I could buy an air gun, learn how to use it and live on pigeon breast terrine – I seriously considered this option
c) I could install a 'fruit cage' – previously ruled out due to huge expense

Earlier this year I noticed a tiny advert in a national newspaper: Henry Cowles - netting made in Britain since 1889, could they supply the solution at a price I could afford? . . . yes they could! AND what's more, the cage is made to measure so it perfectly fits over two of the raised beds in our vegetable garden :-)

The cage arrived . . . and it had to be constructed. Luckily I have a very tall person who was up to the task :-) 

The Pigeon Proof Pen (as it will now be called) has made me deliriously happy . . . for the price of one designer shoe my peas can grow, safe in the knowledge that the squadron of elite attack pigeons cannot harm them :-)

I start the peas in large deep pots in the greenhouse, when they are a few inches tall and with good roots, I plant then out around wigwams made of canes (home harvested form a giant miscanthus grass) and twiggy sticks (prunings from the garden shrubs)

One half of the Pigeon Proof Pen is now planted with five wigwams: Shiraz Purple Podded Mangetout, Tutankhamun, Curruther's Purple Podded, Robinson and Salmon Flowered.

The wigwams will be interplanted with various varieties of lettuce and brassicas.

Thanks to the Pigeon Proof Pen, the Purple Podded Peas have returned to the PPPs Blog!



  1. Fresh garden peas with pigeon breast terrine - even better!
    Btw, welcome back ;-)

  2. Glad you've found a way to thwart the blighters. The first taste will be so sweet this year!

  3. Now I hate to worry you but did you know that pigeons can tunnel - apparently they played a major part in 'The Great Escape' - so watch out for any that might be wielding spades or wearing baggy trousers ;) Jane x

  4. I need one of those!! I totally relate to your anguish - have had same dastardly thoughts re pigeons and have netted off the lush seedling greenery on my side of the balcony. The garden downstairs though is at their mercy as well as that of cats and foxes. I dream of a polytunnel sized net. Wonder if I'd be allowed to put one up in communal garden!

  5. I am looking forward to seeing the pigeons sitting on your magnificent cage trying to work out how they are going to get at your pea plants.

  6. Resourcefulness and sheer B.....-mindedness. Oh! And a fat wallet!
    When you come up with a grasshopper deterrent, please let me kknow. :-(

  7. Yay! I can't wait to see them in full bloom!

  8. Congratulations to you, Celia, on installing this pigeon deterrent. This growing season will be different!

    I wonder just how many pigeons are now searching for new fields to attack. I do hope that they are faraway.


  9. We have terrible trouble with pigeons both ferral and woodies. I spent last year shooting the ferrel birds so they have moved on to pastures new but the woodies were still a problem as were the collard doves. Then nature took a hand and pair of crows moved in to build a nest and they have seen off all the pigeons and suddenly the garden is flooded with little birds tits finches and wrens. I think I may have to get the crows a fillet steak by way of a thank you!!!!!

  10. The trouble we have to go to to thwart wildlife - the pigeons we have had in the garden all winter are absolutely huge - but they have only attacked the purple sprouting broc.so far.

  11. Yay! I'm so pleased for you, just think those wigwams full of purple prodded peas, you will love it! I grew mange tout and French beans last year and they were delicious. Yet to try peas! :) x

  12. Oh no you've gone to all that expense and trouble only to find out those Pidgeons can tunnel! Any signs of that sort of activity let us all know i'm sure we can come and help you fend them off, I think we have an air rifle somewhere.

  13. What a splendid solution. It is good to see you again!

  14. Great to hear from you again after having that illusive cable snappage put you out of the way. Anyhow, we had the same problem with our peas and onions. We had nurtured them, watched them grow and when we thought we had gotten them into the safe zone, the crafty rabbits got in and massacred the lot.

  15. I think a pigeon proof pen could be the way to go. I had a whole crop of brocolli demoloished by the wretched pigeons last year and have lond since given up on salad crops. Good to see you back again!

  16. This year I am trying the inflated balls with scary owl eyes. If that doesn't work, I'll need a PPP. Perhaps I'll have to come back to England to buy one. Though it is even larger than a bucket to carry back :)

  17. Wonderful, all your lovely produce will be well protected now, when I grew veg. we netted the whole lot to keep pigeons, pheasants and muntjac out; I loved the wildlife but not feeding them with my hard work.

  18. I'd have gone for b), but I can quite understand why you chose c) ... nothing beats a freshly (purple) podded pea!

  19. What a brilliant purchase! green with envy. You can also grow soft fruit in there. Personally I might have liked to try pigeon breast terrine... ;-)

  20. Your vegetable garden is looking a little more business like than mine at the moment! I do have some purple French beans and runner beans sprouting in my ramshackle greenhouse, so all is not lost yet!
    If you would like to visit my blog therunningwave, I would so pleased to welcome you and of course your readers too! I have been enjoying your blog for a long time now.


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