The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Take That, Birds!

May 26th, 2011 · No Comments · Posted in garden

Anything to keep the birds away from seedlings

Over the years we’ve lost many of our tomato seedlings to birds. That’s right. For some reason, birds during spring nesting love to nip the tops off our little tomato plants. Starlings seem to be the worst culprits. They just leave the foliage lying on the ground, the plants to wither and die. Maybe they are looking for things to build nests with and the tomato plants somehow look appealing–until they get a taste of it.

In the past I’ve constructed an actual hoop house in the front yard–a small one–where the seedlings can reside, soaking up some sun until nesting season has passed and the plants can go in the ground. This year I improvised, using some squared-off wire frames I found lying around and draping row cloth over them. The row cloth doesn’t reach the ground, but it flaps in the lightest breeze, enough to scare the birds away.

I was a bit late planting my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants this year for the simple reason that there wasn’t any room in front of the big picture window that I normally use as my seed starting area. But that hardly matters. With global warming, the growing season now stretches into November in D.C. Last year I was harvesting green tomatoes the week before Thanksgiving. These little plants are getting plenty of soon and will do just fine.

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