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Have just moved to an acreage property where Kangaroos have free access to our land. Are there any steps I need to take to protect my veggies or will they only eat the grass as they do at the moment?
Keeping animals away from your vegie garden can be challenging. We are also on acreage and our own experience has been very interesting. We do not have kangaroos, but there are many possums, hares and bandicoots around and people in our area have problems with them in their vegie patches. We have concentrated on improving the soil fertility of the whole block we live on by using Biodynamic preparations, twice per year. As a consequence growth on the rest of the property is good and the native animals eat what they would normally eat. They leave our vegie patch alone. To me, this creates a more natural balance and recognises the connectedness of everything in and around the garden.
If the grasses around your block are in healthy condition, I think you should be OK with the Kangaroos. If the grass is poor and weedy, they may see your vegie patch as a nice place to go. In this case having a wire fence around the patch would help. I also find that wire fences are great as climbing frames for plants like passion fruits.
Explore using Biodynamic preparations, BD500 and 501. More information on how to get them is on the Biodynamic Association of Australia web site and if you look in our Garden Tips document under soil fertility, you will find information on how to use them. These preparations, made from totally natural materials, have a significant impact on improving humus level in soil and cost very little.
I saw you mentioned possums! I think I'm at war with the possums. I say I think because I can't think what else it could be that gets in and eats everything - mice? rats? - and because there are heaps of possums in this area. I live in Dutton Park.
So I've set up netting around the couple of small beds that we've got for veges. See this photo:
Just this morning the buggers found a way in (I mistakenly left a bit of gap after collecting some lettuce and they've nibbled most of the broccoli that seemed to be going along nicely! See this photo
I'm very much the novice gardener, so there's a chance it's something other than possums, and even more of a chance that there are better ways for keeping possums away.
(and are those broccoli likely to make a comeback from the possum attack or should I just give them up?!?!)
Dealing with possums in your food garden is challeging but there are solutions that work and do not involve waging a war.
Netting is one thing to do but it is fiddly, often does not work, can inhibit your plant growth especially if you have fruiting crops and doesn't look as good compared to seeing the plants in open air.
There are many sprays that can be used. Here are some web site with lists of them:
In my own experience, the best deterrent is to provide food for the possum that is not the food you are growing. They love highly scented plants with nectar. We have a number of jasmin vines around our place and around the vegetable garden. They love these and grevillea is also a good one.
The possum around our house lives in a cupboard in our garage and we feed it occasionally and look in on it at least once a week, so its become like a pet. We care for it and it seems to respect our territory.
So be kind to your possum and experiment with other ways to deal with it. You are living in the possum's territory, but you can both live in harmony if you are both well fed.
I have my raised beds surrounded with chicken wire which is not taught - apparently they do not like the instability. Never had a problem with possums in the veges but I do have a possum box in the garage and we do put out food for them. I svae apple cores - over-ripe fruit of any sort and always buy a bag of carrots for the times I haven't anything else. Seems to work. I notice they are doing a fine old job on lemons though (thank heavens I have a glut).
Our possum does not touch our garden, its become like a pet. We have not yet mastered the bandicoot, however it seems to like mostly digging in the compost heap and in the edge of our garden beds. Sometimes it will remove a young plant. The only time in many years that I have lost a crop to it was when I had a beautiful crop of carrots this year and the little critter dug over 150 of them up.
I had a few stern words with it then and the damage has been virtually nothing ever since but I see its little holes around the garden most nights.
Hi Alison. We live on acreage also and have large numbers of Kangaroos that graze right up to within a few metres of the house (and garden). I was really worried when I put in my first vege garden that they would make it their dining room but they dont seem interested in it. (everyone told me that with all of the wildlife in the area I would not be able to have a productive garden.) My gardens are at ground level with no barriers between them and the grass and to date my biggest preditor is the cabbage catapiller!
That's a good story about the predators. I am in a similar situation, though we do get a visit at times by a bandicoot. At the moment we are sacrificing a pumpkin out of a big crop to keep the bandicoot happy.
I feel its important to have good fertility around your block rather than having your garden as an oasis in a desert. We handle this by putting out biodynamic preparation 500 over our whole five acres. We often make this ourselves and at other times buy it from the Biodynamic Association of Australia. There is quite a bit of content on our site about BD500 in Resources, Biodynamics, Practice notes. That's on our public site.
With the cabbage caterpillar, a good companion to keep the cabbage moth and caterpillar away from your food crop is coriander. All good and bad companions for the 130 veg and herb crops in our Gardener subscriber site can be found on the Companion search which is at resources, Plant search tools.
Hi Peter. Thanks for that. I havn't had a chance to look thru that yet. I actually need to re plant some corrander.
Peter's advice rings true for me. We too put our mandalas in a kangaroo paddock but the BD preps and general care including maintaining a mowed weed barrier around the garden ensures bountiful pick for the roos around the garden and except for an occasional graze on the sugarcane at the edge , they leave the garden alone.
We use a fox pepper to keep the chooks safe but restrict the use of peppers as they are "powerful magic" and you don't want to interfere too much with nature.
Speaking of magic - we had Alana Moore come and deliver a workshop on earth dosing in line with her book "Stone Age farming for the 21st century" a part of the workshop was development of a "Tower of Power" which looks to use radionics as part of the process. we charge the tower with positive affirmations and a few "requests" such as control and balance with respects to Galahs and possums - it seems to work well. Go figure.
I feel that using these types of methods is where food growing will move to for the innovators. Funny how using quite old knowledge is now innovative, but then its pretty obvious that chemical farming or Genetech are not the answer.
Did you make you fox peppers or did you buy them, if you bought them, where did you get them?
Both BD peppers and BD 500 can be applied with radionics.
My brother in-law uses radionics to put out BD500 on his quite large cattle and grain property. He was a chemical farmer for years and once he started using the BD preps he commented on being able to finally smell his soil.
There is quite a bit of controversy in the BD movement about using radionics as is not as pure as the hand stirring process and does not usually provide the opportunity for the intention of the gardener or farmer to enter the brew. I don't have a farm and always use hand stirring, but I can accept that radionics works.
For others reading this post, there is some content on BD peppers at [cityfoodgrowers.com.au]
It is hand stiring for me always with the BD preps Peter - I feel it is the intent that we put into the water that forms alot of the "active ingredient" and hand stiring is a great way to inject the intent into the process.
The fox pepper was from a roadkill male fox Peter.
To get back on the thread - I have heard it said that a kangaroo will not jump a fence he can't see the other side of and hanging hessian on the fence will prevent them jumping over. Is anyone aware of this or had any experience?
I live on the suburban bush fringewith a suburban size block in Hobart. The density of possums is extreme - with perhaps up to 10 possums on the properties fence line early in the evening. And since a very dry summer the year before last we now have urban wallabies. We have maximised growing areas on our property and after several years of exasperation have netteed and caged everything. I was happy to share, but there had to be something left to share!!! So, I am now enjoying the wallabies doing our mowing of grass (we have lush grass which always needed ridiculous amounts of mowing) and is also freely fertilised by wallabies, chooks and the pet rabbit, the possums can take there chances with whatever they get, the chooks can be moved from one cage to the next and are safe froom aerial predators and I am looking forward to a productive summer garden, at last!!! which I will leave excess produce to feed all the animals - but outside the cages. The only down side is that I don't get the benefit of birds in some areas to control insects, but so far it hasn't been a problem. So I guess it depends on the siutaution and load of possums and wallabies.