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Friday, March 22, 2013

Pigeon Poop & Wise Words from Jackie French

Jackie French - Soil Food
I've been re-reading this book by Jackie French that I received last year (as a gift when I ordered a bunch of seeds from Green Harvest). I must say I was a bit under-whelmed when I opened my seed parcel and saw the free gift. Couldn't someone have prettied up that cover? So brown and ... dirty. And soil. That doesn't really sound like a good read.

But anyway I was so completely wrong.  This is one of the greatest gardening books I've clapped eyes on. Loads of inspiring soil improving ideas. Probably I'll divulge a few words of wisdom from Jackie in the future, but today I thought I'd share just one.

Make friends with the birds in the garden and encourage them in. They poo - and if you've ever owned a budgie you'll know that even little birds poo quite a lot. Provide water and perches and shelter in your garden for the wild birds.  'Cos the more wild birds, the more free fertiliser.

After reading this book I am never looking at a bird in the garden the same way. My Monkey Man gets very annoyed by the little miner birds that mess up his front garden and toss twigs all over the path. Goodness knows why because we have the messiest, most jungle-like front garden in the entire suburb. You can't walk down our front path without tripping over a loose brick or getting poked in the eye by a wayward branch. And if you do manage to get to the front door there's a whole bunch of boxes still waiting to fit into the recycling bin and an umbrella that someone was supposed to collect a month ago and some political posters that need to be returned to political offices... and a whole big bloody mess. But Monkey Man only seems to notice the twigs and leaves the miner birds toss on his path.

Anyway,  I must admit it doesn't make my heart sing to see birds feasting on my fig tree. Or sneaking into the chook shed to steal their food. But I've changed my way of thinking after reading Jackie's book. And since doing so I've started making more watering spots for them.
Like this little old fry pan in a hanging basket where I very often see a pretty bird with a yellow breast come and have a drink. And probably a poop.

And I've been looking with new eyes at all this pigeon poop under the railway overpass that we walk along on the way home from school. I've been thinking that maybe I will be a little bit kooky and sneak out to that underpass with a bucket. And a shovel. At some time when nobody's about. And I will scoop up all that free pigeon poop to deposit on my garden.
free fertiliser - pigeon poop under a bridge

13 comments:

  1. I think Jackie French could make anything sound like fun...even pigeon poo. I think things like that too, collecting up sea weed on the beach or pulling out a delectable weed when we are in town because I know the goats will love it - I will be kooky with you.For the pigeon poo at the railway , I recommmend taking a bag and a scoop...but as some one goes by ,just pretend you have dropped something. Check out LindaWoodrows info in 'The Permaculture Home Garden' on pigeon poo- it is a highly nutritious item for the soil.

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    1. Good we'll all be kooky. Lucky it is a rather remote spot and it is very close to my house. I must check out that book.

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  2. I want a 'like' button for Kim's comment. Love the idea of scooping up pigeon poo at the railway. Dignified to pretend that you aren't doing it though. So wonderfully batty and I've always had a desire to become more eccentric the older I get.

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    1. No need to wait til you're older Lanie there's no time like the present to get batty I reckon.

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  3. You got chooks - you got poop! Great for revving up compost heaps. Careful about using it fresh round plants - it burns.

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    1. Yep I've got chooks but I want more poop.

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  4. Oh gosh - will your kids disown you? I remember walking through a cow paddock with my Mom and Dad picking up what my Mom said was "free fertilizer". Only afterwards did I discover where cow patties actually came from. she grew a lovely garden with them though I must say!

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    1. I will do it when the kids aren't around so they don't need to be more embarrassed by me than they already are.

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  5. If you feel embarassed to be seen collecting pigeon poo, you could always put on a high-visibility jacket and a hard hat and pretend that someone has paid you to sweep up!

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  6. This is a great news as I do have lots of birds in our backyard garden where I grow my veggies :-). Are you sure those are pigeon poop and not rat or other animal poop :-)?

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  7. The only trouble I can see with the encouraging birds into your garden, is that they could eat your food and then fly off and poo somewhere else!

    That's a good idea of Mark's for collecting the pigeon poo.

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  8. I'd really go for that pigeon poop if you can. It's supposed to be the richest poop there is. English farmers of old used to build little towers for the pigeons to roost in (dovecots) and shovel out the poop to use on their veggies.

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  9. We have lots of doves in our garden. If you use pea straw as mulch they love it cos its filled with seeds. I love our honeyeaters and wattlebirds. The sparrows I'm usually pretty happy with but I think I'd go without the blackbird poo as they are such a pain digging everything up.

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