Honestly, I hold out very little hope for my sunflower crop. Something, possum or bandicoot, is relentless in its attack. My chicken wire fence is perhaps an inconvenience, but not a deterrent. A couple of days after sowing the seeds I awoke to find the bed totally dug over with a bunch of tiny white sprouts (headless but with a single root still attached) scattered over every inch of the sunflower bed.
The evidence left pointed to a bandicoot but I couldn’t imagine how it got in under the chicken wire. None of it was bent so perhaps the silly thing can levitate. I blamed the damage on a possum so I strung scraps of netting and chicken wire over top of the little garden bed. I also pushed the spouts under the soil and watered it all in some vain hope that something would survive. As Frank pointed out, we really only need a few sunflowers (I planted dozens of seeds based on my past experience of poor sprouting and successful fauna invasion.)
That did no good at all. The next morning the damage was the same. Fewer sprouts on the surface (presumably fewer sprouts left to eat) but all the soil was well ploughed.
Since the netting hadn’t been disturbed my prime suspect changed from possum to bandicoot (still baffled as to how). To hinder the bandicoots entrance to the bed I put a few more pegs holding the wire to the ground.
The next day, more of the same (aarrgh). I actually found one sprouting seed with leaves just about to spread. I have no idea how the critter missed it. But I raised the bar again. This time with more pegs, a couple of bricks and some plastic boxes covering the brave sprout and along the fence line in the hopes that if the bandicoot attacks again, at least I’ll know my weak link.
Two days later… another attack. I still have no idea how IT (whatever IT is) is getting in. The fence is not bent, the bricks aren’t moved and the plastic covers haven’t shifted.
The sprouts under the plastic are hanging in there and a couple more look to have survived, but 3 promising looking sprouts are no more 😦
With no idea what else to try I put more bricks around the fence. The bottom of the chicken wire is now lined with bricks which means the only way in to the sunflowers is over the top (which still is 90% covered with netting). I’m sure my chickens want at those sprouts but they, at least, have been unsuccessful in achieving their dreams.
I’m now shifting the plastic covers over any sprouts I find. I’ll keep monitoring any invasions.
I do have more seeds but I’m not keen to re-sow until I make this bed secure against invasion – at least until the plants have a fighting chance.
For the past 2 mornings the bed has been left alone. Maybe I’ve won (this round). I’m getting a few sunflowers and when they really take hold, I’ll plant more to fill in the gaps. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Right now I’m still walking out every morning with trepidation to examine my sunflower bed.
we had a bandicoot invasion last week too – there is no doubt as to who it was – he dug a very big hole under the gate. grr. so we have also gone the brick route…. (and caught one in a trap to re-locate him)
We aren’t allowed to trap them here and I wonder how much it would help because I suspect another would move right in. Nature is a persistent beast – good luck in your battle!
I’ve started sunflowers indoors and transplanted with a high success rate.
I had to look up what a “bandicoot” is. 😉
That’s a great suggestion about starting sunflowers and then transplanting. I thought they didn’t like that.
I guess bandicoots aren’t well known outside of Australia. They’re becoming increasingly well known in Sydney. The controlling of foxes has really benefited these garden raiders. Here’s one of my posts dealing with their discovery in my back yard https://laurarittenhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/is-there-a-bandicoot-in-my-garden/