I’ve declared full scale war on the birds invading my new vegetable garden!
For the first time in my life, I was able to plant my very own personal food producing garden. A few weeks ago, a friend came over with his tiller and tilled a nice piece of earth supplemented with composted animal manure. I had visions of later this summer, munching on ears of sweet, fresh corn on the cob dripping with butter. Carefully, I opened the packets of seeds and with loving anticipation planted the tiny seeds in the rich soil. I made sure they were planted several inches apart and in nice neat rows at the top of my new garden. While harvesting the sweet corn was my major goal, I also planted pepper and tomato plants, some squash and cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplants, beets, and green beans.
Daily, I ran out to survey my new plantings and eagerly anticipated observing the tiny sprouts of corn emerging from the soil. Finally, after a few days, my wish came true and the seedlings popped out of the rich firmament. I was so excited, calling my mom and texting friends, my corn was on its way to greatness! The next morning, I ran out with my phone to capture some pictures of the newly sprouted corn. I looked down the rows and, to my horror, several of the seedlings had been pulled from the soil and lay wilting in the hot sun. I was stunned to see, in one row, all the seedlings except three plants had been plucked from the dirt. What had happened? Who or what had yanked the corn from my garden? Downcast and heartbroken, I hung my head and walked to the other side of the fence. I gazed back over the fence to see crows swoop in and walk down the corn rows, pulling up seedlings and tossing them aside. The corn wasn’t their only victim. The malicious feathered garden terrorists were also ripping out the green bean seedlings!
I vowed, standing right there watching the birds, they would not defeat me and destroy my dreams of savoring sweet corn glazed with butter in late August.
I grabbed my phone and hunted for info about birds and seedlings. I was surprised to read birds are notorious for pulling up seedlings, especially corn seedlings, from the garden. The internet was full of good info on how to battle the feathered fiends.
Several sources said to place bird netting over the seedlings. It was suggested to insert bamboo stakes and tent the netting over the seedlings, and anchor the netting down with rocks, so the birds can’t get to the new plants.
One source said to start the corn indoors or in a greenhouse and plant them after they have gotten a few inches tall. Today, on a shopping trip for anti-bird warfare, I noticed young corn plants four to six inches tall sold in six packs.
Several sites discussed using motion detectors that turn on water sprinklers to frighten the birds when they arrive to frolic about. I think this would be both expensive to buy and tedious to implement.
A clerk at Walmart said she purchased plastic snakes at the Dollar Store and placed them in her garden. She swore it works like a charm, scaring off the birds.
A friend of mine who has the most bountiful gardens I’ve ever seen, bought a life-sized fake crow, pulled out a few feathers, spread the bird’s wings and hung it upside down in the middle of his garden! He swears the dead looking crow hanging upside down gives the other crows something to contemplate, and they leave his garden alone!
I installed several ideas of my own, including large pinwheels covered with red, white, and blue stars. If nothing else, the pinwheels give my garden a very patriotic look! My mother suggested attaching disposable aluminum pie pans to string and hang them a few inches above the new plants. I purchased 6 pie pans (I was surprised how expensive they were) and placed them in the middle of my corn patch.
This morning I came back from the store with 12 new corn plants, a roll of reflective tape, two large blow-up snakes, and a blow-up owl. I nearly hyperventilated blowing up the snakes and owl. The directions suggested moving the snakes around every few days, so the birds don’t get used to them, and after harvest deflate them and store them for next year.
My new vegetable garden looks like a three ringed circus with spinning pinwheels, flapping pie pans and reflective tape bouncing sunlight here and there. Instead of tigers and elephants, I have the plastic snakes and owls to scare off the enemy!
Thus far the pinwheels, the clattering pie pans, and blowup reptiles appear to be working! Maybe I’ll get to eat that delicious sweet corn dripping with butter after all!
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