Project and Pleasure – Sunflowers or Defeating the Critters

Finally, I seem to have hit upon a way to grow sunflowers. My big problem…relentless foraging by chipmunks and squirrels. They dig the seed out of the ground, or if they somehow miss a seed or two, they nip off the top of the newly sprouted plant. Another trick that worked for me has been planting later in the season when other food is more abundant.

I planted the sunflower seeds in my Square Foot Garden. This area is enclosed by chicken wire. For some reason the squirrels stay out of this…perhaps it is the CD’s I have hanging from hooks that swing in the breeze and maybe scare them away.

My best deterrent has been to plant the seeds and then enclose the area in a gallon size ziplock bag. To do this, I cut the bottom of the bag away, then tape bamboo skewers inside the bag with duct tape. I make sure the sharp end of the skewers extends beyond the bottom of the bag about an inch or two. One problem with this method…the skewers are very sharp, even on the blunt top end. To remedy this I stick a clove of garlic on each top. I am pretty sure this also helped repel those bad chipmunks and squirrels.

I’m not sure if I planted early enough to enjoy blooms this year, but the plant is beginning to bud so I have high hopes.

Problem Solving – Critter Wars Part V

I’ve been visited by a lone wild turkey once in the past few years. Yesterday, I looked out my back window, and there beneath my bird feeders, feasting on fallen seeds, was a flock of five of the big birds. Yikes! They are unique and a bit intriguing, but I was not going to stand at the window gawking and allow them to jump the chicken wire enclosing my Square Food Garden. I could envision all my gorgeous lettuce, bread seed poppies, peas and other sprouting vegetables quickly disappearing down their long throats. As I chased them out of the yard, their gobbling sounded like snarky laughter. I guess I did look a bit comical gallumphing around the yard in a big purple robe and floppy slippers. They sauntered away, unafraid, through a gap in the back fence. What, or should I say, who is next, in the constant backyard invasions of critters?