January 2010
Home Grown Tomatoes

Feed the Birds. It’s Cold Outside!

Each year at the Tomato Tower, we plant more and more varieties of annuals and perennials. But, I really like all of the past year’s successes, so I keep planting them as well. The garden gets pretty full these days.

One other issue causing crowding here in the gardens is that I now plant extras of the plants I collect seeds from each season. I do this because the birds love them and it looks more natural than plastic bird feeders, although I still use them for specialty feed.

 

Purple finches on basil

Echinacea seeds, along with thistle and black oil sunflower seeds, attract the American goldfinches and cardinals. Basil seeds attract the purple finch, dark-eyed junco and sparrows.

Once you have collected all of your seeds for saving in the fall, leave a few behind on the stems for the birds to eat.

Another great source for food is my collection of trees and shrubs. Cedar waxwings love the berries of our native hollies like the Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria) and the common winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and so do the blue jays and red winged blackbirds, among others.

Robins, brown thrashers, towhees and grackles all enjoy scratching for worms in the compost heaps, especially since they get turned about every other week. (There’s some great dirt there too! I can hardly wait until spring.)

Make sure you remember our feathered guests this winter and leave them something to munch on.

There are only a few shopping days left until Groundhog Day!

Brrrr! It’s cold! See y’all in February.

Become a fan of Home Grown Tomatoes on Facebook. E-mail me (kennalan@ hgtradio.net) with questions about bird watching in the garden or other gardening topics. For more on these or other gardening tips, log on to Home Grown Tomatoes at http://HGTradio.net.