Wednesday, October 9, 2013

sharing with local wildlife

we are pretty close to the downtown core of our city so luckily we don't have to guard our plot from too many large animals such as deer, but we are visited by rabbits, rats and most often squirrels. we are pretty far south so our squirrels are the big bushy tail american ones, like little teams of acrobats they find the best way to get into everything.

i knew we would have visitors, so i planned to plant enough to share. this is my first time growing sunflowers, and i have been excited all year to reap their bounty. every time i go out to the yard i pick a small handful of seeds straight off the flower and eat them raw. they taste amazing and are power packed with nutrients! few things in life are more satisfying than eating something we've grown fresh ourselves.

so about sharing.. most of our sunflowers were planted along the fence, which may not have been the best spot for them.. this made them too accessible to the squirrels. they had enough force behind them when jumping from the top of the fence to take the sunflowers down to the ground and decimate the entire heads. the ones planted along the open space where there is no fence yet are still standing, they only managed to grab the seeds closest to the stem where they hang from to sneak a snack.

i don't mind sharing, but next time our placement will be a little better so that we get at least as much of the seeds as the squirrels. we are thinking of trying other tall plants next year such as corn to form a natural green barrier between us and the surrounding car lots behind the chain link fences. it helps to block the wind and blowing dust from the nearby road, creates a 'sunbowl' effect, and a slightly warmer microclimate for other tender plants. we will also try mixing in other types of sunflower and wild natives to further beautify the yard and attract other beneficial insects.

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