it’s all in the head

The last two winters have been harsh, to put it mildly. My wife, being kind, tries to help the wild birds through the winter with bird food. Noticing how expensive that was, last year I tried growing black oil sunflowers, one of those expensive ingredients.

The crop turned out well, and my thought was to harvest and dry entire heads. It seemed to me that giving the birds a little work for their free supper wasn’t cruel at all. It would build character. And it would stretch a buck.

But the project was a bust. I strung the sunflower heads up in the barn, covered by some breathable agribon to keep the chipmunks and mice away. But in a month they were all moldy.

Never say die though, eh? I’m back at it again this year. And this year it’s onward and upward. I brought all of the heads into the house and arranged them on a card table in the front room. My wife gave a doubtful glance, but I didn’t receive counter-orders, so now they’re sitting where I can keep a good eye on them, safe from prying buck teeth.

But now I’m thinking that if it works, the wild birdies might have to share some with their domesticated neighbors. Sharing builds character too.

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9 thoughts on “it’s all in the head

  1. Did you plant seeds from a packet or just use the seeds that you buy for the bird feeder? I’m lucky to be able to have a feeder outside the window at work and we’ve actually had some flowers sprout, grow and bloom below it. “A Field of Sunflowers” is one of the items on the list for our next home. Good luck with yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve got a lot of wild perennial sunflowers planted along the edges of gardens and other places. They get rampant, though, and spread to new places which is what I wanted to happen anyway. Probably not for the average yard but great magnets for goldfinches if you dare to grow them.

    Moldy sunflower heads are problem. I think the spongy interiors soak up humidity and keep it there so promote fungus and other messy decay.

    I planted a dwarf variety this year called Zebulon. Two to three feet tall although a few are taller. They’re blooming now. The seeds are just little smaller than the eating types but look like they’d make good bird food. I’m saving seeds from the shortest plants for next year for my own field of sunflowers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right about the spongy interiors. I’ll try drying heads this year and if it doesn’t work, I’ll just harvest the seeds in the future.

      I like the thought of smaller seeds. The giant striped seeds are too big for the smaller birds.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lookin’ good! We used to grow sunflowers. They’re get nice and tall, big heads, really nice. Just as I was thinking it was about time to harvest the squirrels climbed up the stalks far enough to pull them down and have an early Thanksgiving feast. That was frustrating.


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