So, I guess it's time for the latest update on my battle with them. If you see my previous blog post, I had two areas that were set up to deal with possums. One area was protected with a nylon mesh, combining architectural elements of the Sydney Opera House with the visual appeal of a plastic bag stuck on a barbed wire fence. The other area had a low electrified fence. The fence worked for about a year before the possums figured out they could jump out of some nearby trees, onto the compost bin inside the enclosure and then onto the ground. When I made the compost bin inaccessible (by giving it a wire hat) they figured out how to jump off the ground and onto the trunk of a paw paw tree. At that point I gave up and stopped planting things in that area that possums like to eat.
The netted area - the one that looks like Westminster Abbey recreated by a spider that's been given too much caffeine - survived much longer, but in the last couple of months it has been regularly breached by the possums. This is due to the netting being degraded by the sun, to the point where the possums could push through it. Once they figured out that they could do that, it didn't matter which area I repaired, they'd find another weakness.
So a couple of weeks ago I ripped down the old structure and surrounded that bed with a higher fence than I'd used on the other area, to remove the danger of jumping possums, and set up the electric fence there.
If you look closely you can see that there are two wires at the top of the fence. One has the electric fence energiser hanging off it, the other is attached to the wire netting and the earth of the fence energiser. Both wires have to be touched for the animal (or gardener) to get a shock. I'm two weeks in and there have been no incursions so far, so I'm very hopeful that I might have a secure garden bed once again. One of the great advantages of this approach is that it increases the potential for vertical gardening, as I failed to produce any snake beans last summer because possums kept nipping off the plants before they got tall enough to produce.
I also discovered this week that sometimes you do get what you pay for. Last year I bought a seed grown grumichama plant for $5 at Yandina markets and after struggling for a year since I planted it it recently died, finally. I ripped it out of the ground today, and discovered why it had done so badly:
Yes, the taproot does a full 360 turn, with an extra elbow thrown in for good measure. You could argue that I got a bargain, since it was clearly the first grumichama to be grown in space, but I'm a pretty disapointed. The problem is that I bought two. Should I rip out the other one on the presumption that it's in the same state? It's certainly not thriving.