Friday, August 17, 2012

Project: Bird Seed Garden?!

Totally crazy.

Absolutely bonkers...

Or maybe just full of a larger amount of curiosity than usual?

I kinda like that last option, so let's go with it!

A while back, a squirrel decided to get into my salvaged bird feeder.  

Naturally, bird seed was scattered everywhere, and the feeder was...

Well, let's just say that it's time for me to come up with a new use for it.

In the beginning, I spent a lot of time trying to pick all of the plants that grew from the seed that was dumped all over that side of my raised garden.  I then realized, however, that it was going to be a never-ending process.  I'd danced to this tune before in the desert southwest, and knew that unless I actually removed the soil it would be an exercise in futility.

But then I realized something.

There was nothing growing in half of that area, aside from a low-lying ground cover that had been planted before I moved here.  My peas were damaged so much during our heat wave that I allowed them to die in peace. That left a huge void in the garden.

And I despise garden voids.

The birdseed was growing, on the other hand, and was healthy.  Many of the seed that is found in a bird seed bag is edible and pleasing to humans, as well.

Why not allow some of the bird seed to grow in my edible garden?

It would be interesting to see how it all turned out, so I allowed the plants to grow.  No thinning.  I allowed them to use the survival of the fittest method to sort themselves out.

bird seed garden

You can still see the dead pea vines hanging from the frame.  I really need to remove them, but I had been hesitant to do so until I figured out what I wanted to put in their place, because I wanted the dead root structure to continue feeding the soil - as well as reduce erosion.

Looks like the squirrel decided what to plant for me!

I have no idea what the long, grassy leaves are.  

I haven't seen any of them as sprouts with the seed casing still attached.  What I do know about them, though, is that they're very strong.  If you take just one of those plants and braid the leaves together, you have a pretty strong, thin rope.  I may use this knowledge to lash together some of the black walnut branches I collected.

The other seed that has decided to grow is black sunflower seed.

I got positive identification when I had to pull one of the seed casings off of a seedling.

young sunflower

It's a rather short sunflower, standing less than two feet tall, but it's healthy, and already producing a flower bud.  Being a sunflower seed fanatic, I'll allow this one to produce yumminess for me!

The grassy leaved plants, on the other hand, will need to be removed before they get to that point.  They're rather fast growers, and I can easily see them taking over the entire raised garden.

I mean, sure, I'm enjoying this bird seed garden project, but I want it to be rather small, and easy to manage.

Have you ever ended up keeping plants that sprout up from seeds in a location that they shouldn't have been?  What were yours, and how did you take advantage of them?

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