If you enjoy feeding and housing the birds in your backyard, you're probably aware of the expense involved in keeping your feathered friends happy. You've probably spent money on outdoor-themed wooden bird houses, a variety of feeders, suet baskets, and bird baths. If your yard is blessed with an abundance of birds, the cost can be substantial.
One way to save money is to grow your own birdseed. Planting a garden for the birds is the perfect way to cut down on expenses. And you will have the added joy of beautiful plants and flowers adorning your yard all summer long.
Little garden, lots of seeds
Don't worry if you don't have a large amount of space for gardening. It only takes a small plot to produce a harvest of many pounds of seeds. A small area along the border of the yard will work well.
What to plant
You should choose plants with composite flowers that will produce a lot of seeds. Some plants to start with include:
How to plant
Plant blocks of seeds about two feet square. Use a different plant species for each block. Loosen the soil at least 16 inches deep. Add a two inch layer of compost and turn it into the soil with a garden rake. Rake the bed smooth.
Scatter seeds evenly over the raked bed. Be sure to consult the package directions for the exact planting depth for each type of seed. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Water the bed by misting with a garden hose.
As plants grow, you should thin them out according to the recommendations on each package. Fertilize the plants every two to three weeks with a liquid fertilizer sprayed on the soil beneath the plants.
Once the plants flower, let them go to seed. Take your cues from the birds! They will be watching the flowers too. Once the petals drop from a flower, take note to see if the birds are eating the seeds. You will know the seeds are ripe and ready for harvesting.
Cut the heads from the plant. Let them dry out in a place protected from the birds. When the seeds drop from the heads when shaken, they are dry and ready for storing.
Remove the seeds and store them in plastic bags for up to six weeks. For longer storage, you should freeze the seeds. Don't forget to save a few seeds to plant next season.
The money you spend keeping your feathered friends happy pays off in great rewards. You get to enjoy unlimited hours of birdwatching fun in your own backyard. Planting your own seed garden will help you cut the cost, add beauty to your yard, and the birds will love it too. You might even decide to buy a few more birdhouses with the money you save.
One of the things that helped sell my home quickly, at least according to my real estate agent, was the time I spent fixing up the landscaping. I knew about the importance of eye appeal, but who would have thought that something as simple as a storage shed or a backyard veggie garden could make such a big difference in the sale price of a home, and the length of time it takes to sell said home? Well to prove that my landscaping techniques worked, I helped three friends sell their homes using some of my tips and tricks. It seems to have worked, because every one of them were able to fetch their asking price and sell before their goal deadlines. So, I figured I should help others out there who could use a little help in the home selling department… hopefully you'll find inspiration on the pages here.