feed the birds…..

all together now ….’tuppence a bag, tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag’.

Except it isn’t tuppence.   We regularly pick up those large tubs of fat balls, as the avian crew round our way can easily get through a dozen balls a day. Which means that a tub of fifty lasts less than a week.  Hence, why I’m sifting through my (extensive) collection of sunflower, (Helianthus annis),  seeds.

DSC_0195I do love the cultivars with the orange/rust hues such as ‘Evening Sun’, ‘Ring of Fire’ or ‘Autumn Time’, but what I need for the birds are the single, big headed forms like ‘Russian Giant’.

DSC_0196I could sow in situ but I suspect that the voles would make short work of any seed in the ground. Instead, I’ll sow into modules in the propagator and grow on in 9cm pots.  Once the plants are big enough I’ll plant a line of sunflowers along the fence of the polytunnel growing area.   I can then tie in canes to support the flowers – ‘Russian Giant’ can get to 10ft, the heads up to 12 inches in diameter.

I plan to leave some stems in situ for the birds to feed on in the autumn and cut others to hang up in the polytunnel out of reach of rodents.  With luck, we’ll have enough heads for feeding to the birds over the winter months.

Hopefully, this will stem the rate of fat ball consumption!

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