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Despite the weather not knowing whether it wants to rain, literally chuck it down, be nice and sunny or a bit of all three, I have managed to get down the allotment and weed and dig over a big enough patch (well Steve has) to be able to start the planting of vegetables.
The one downside to planting seeds and then growing are birds and other little pests that like to feast on your plants. There are many ways to scare off birds and other larger animals, but your plants and other such items need to be of a certain height for them to take affect, and by that I mean hanging used CD's and DVD's on a string off poles, bamboo canes and trees nearby, but for those plants nearer to the ground you need other options and they can be anything from windmills to traps. The most obvious form of deterrent is a Scarecrow and there are literally hundreds of websites which give advice on how to make the scariest, craziest and evil looking Scarecrow ever, but if lilke me you have no creative bone in your body, it makes the task a whole lot harder, so thank god for Lakeland coming in to save the day!
Lakeland is one of my favourite stores and it allows me to spend a few hours of my time reading the various catalogues that come through my door with tempting ideas that promise to save me hours of time when cooking, cleaning and in this case gardening. So when the 'gardening' version of the Lakeland catalogue arrived with free Basil seeds I was really chuffed to find inside a 'Scarecrow wind spinner' which is two ideas in one and something that would indeed sort my current problem out, though whether it is still there after this current weather we have had is another story.
So the 'Scarecrow wind spinner' is described quite cleverly and as follows:
"The old ideas are so often the best, and Scarecrows remain a humane and effective way of keeping birds and other animals off your plants and young veg. With his head spinning around in the breeze to deter even the most inquisitive creatures, this chappy will be happy to be out in any weather, protecting your garden and ensuring your plants are in the safest of hands".
So it technically does two jobs at once, flaps about in the wind to scare animals and critters that come to close whilst protecting your plants and I am happy that it involves no chemicals or pesticides which might be harmful and best of all it was only £7.99.
Once the Scarecrow arrives, it is enveloped in a clear plastic wrapper and it is one of those self-assembly items which thankfully didn't come with an Ikea instruction booklet and 25 screws too many leaving you confused for days on end as to why you have so much stuff left over, then a random page appears and you realize you have infact missed a whole section out. Instead you get a one side A5 sheet with the easiest instructions I have ever seen and it basically involves putting 4 different parts together to form your Scarecrow. The main part is the body; there is a long plastic stick which reaches from the head to the bottom, the bottom part being the bit which sticks into the ground. The plastic itself is quite rigid, though not unbreakable, so when sticking it into the ground I would suggest using another gardening tool to make the hole in which it will sit. Then there is the arm section which vertical to the body to make a cross shape and this becomes the arms and then the head which fans out to become the spinner is white colour and forms a ball shape which has a face showing on each section, something I thought I was bit creepy to start with, a sort of evil Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge (showing my age now) and as the head spins you can see the face at all times and once the wind catches it, it makes a rustling noise which is designed to frighten away birds and other animals. The same for the arms which has a toughed plastic shirt like and at the bottom there are fringes cut into the shirt so that they also rustle in the wind and then what are meant to look like hands and fingers are also designed to rustle in the wind. Once it has been fully erected and ready to work the dimensions for those wanting to know are roughly 32" x 40" and for those like me who still use centimeters it is approximately 81cm x 1.03cm.
Then once your Scarecrow is built and is positioned in place, you simply let it work its magic and its job. I actually really like this Scarecrow simply because it is so lovely and brightly coloured, the bright blue shirt that the Scarecrow is wearing is a bright pastel shade of blue, almost a luminous colour which really stands out across the allotment and brings some colour to what is essentially a lot of green and brown everywhere until plants starts to flower. It definitely makes a rustling sound and in the wind and given the kinds of weather we have had recently, I was surprised to find the Scarecrow still in one peace protecting my seedlings from the evil birds who think I am providing a banquet for them.
So, for me this is brilliant, it is effective, cheap compared to other items you can buy, it isn't harmful to anyone or anything and it brings a bit of colour to my allotment and you could always have one in your garden, which my nephew has and it does the same job there for him.