Seed Swaps

Tahitian Spinach Progress

11 Jan 2012
Cloudy 32°C / 90°F

After a particularly dry, dry season, and I suspect, some particularly naughty little ducks, my tahitian spinach slowly seemed to disappear.

I weeded the pond overflow to find little cormlets with pretty heart shaped leaves hidden beneath the overgrowth. The larger plants had long since died back (or been eaten by ducks – including the larger corms!) Smaller gauge wire was put in place so they couldn’t get their little heads and necks through.

A day or two after weeding I noticed the leaves and corms disappearing. I can’t be sure of the cause, too much heat and not enough moisture, too much exposure without the long grass hiding the tiny plants and keeping the soil moist, lack of cover for the plants leaving them open to being eaten whether by ducks (trampling down small gauge wire), insects or some other creature, I cannot say.

I found one tiny corm struggling along in the mud so I have lifted it and it is currently living in a pot submerged in water on the front verandah. I’m happy to report that lots of little roots were visible and have quickly increased, and now a tiny green shoot is protruding from what appeared to be a dried, brown corm.




You are definitely putting me off ducks!

What a tough plant. Neither my friend nor myself have had any luck growing this plant in water. I wonder if it is because it is not warm enough here for that? They grow best for me in big self watering tubs, but the one I planted in a garden bed seems to be doing even better. It gets regular watering and is in partial shade. Given the heat of the last few days, your little survivor should be happy (and grateful!).

Posted on 12 Jan 12 (over 4 years ago)

Don’t be put off by ducks, mine are just free range throughout the garden. If contained, as most poultry are, in a yard then the garden won’t suffer. I just do the reverse and contain the plants within wire unless they are big enough, strong enough, not tasty, or extrememly fast growers to out compete the ducks. The overflow bog garden in which the Tahitian spinach was growing was the original duck pond, so they see it as theirs.

The original wire I used was large gauge chicken wire and I didn’t notice at first that they could fit their heads and necks easily through the wire. All those feathers are deceptive as to how small a bird really is. I now use small gauge chicken wire and very small gauge bird wire. I centre plants within large circles of wire well away from the edges. If the ducks didn’t eat the garden, then the bandicoots, fruit bats, antechinous, and various other wildlife do. It’s all a matter of balance.

Oh, a fact of which most people are probably unaware: a bird eats the equivalent of one third of its body weight every day.

Posted on 12 Jan 12 (over 4 years ago)

I know hens eat quite a lot, but I don’t know much about ducks. It is very tempting to have a couple, if only for slug patrol and of course, duck eggs for pavs. I have read that ducks and hens shouldn’t run together, but I don’t have room to keep them separated except when in their own houses. They would have to share the fruit tree yard, which is to be fenced off from the veggies which are in the area I will have table and chairs. No chickens welcome, they peck at your bare toes!

Recently finished The Resilient Gardener, Carol Deppe. Great chapter on keeping ducks, from a gardener’s perspective as well as observations on the differences in personality and functionality of the seven or so breeds she has kept. If your library has it you’d probably enjoy that one chapter. The book is aimed at cool, wet temperate climates but I still gleaned quite a bit from it.

Posted on 13 Jan 12 (over 4 years ago)

Update: It looks like the last corm has died. I’ve ordered a new plant from Green Harvest.
Note to self- protect it from ducks.

Posted on 26 Feb 12 (over 4 years ago)

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