Patio Gardening: The Mystery Pot (UPDATED)

The day after the birds discovered the feeder, I discovered just how messy birds are when it comes to eating. They regularly hurl seeds away to find their favorites (like children picking between vegetables). Deft beaks make short work of shells allowing them to shower down to the ground. Some of this falls over the rail to the ground far below, but a fair portion of it was falling on my patio. Being a neat freak I wanted to do something about this, but I also realized it was a losing battle so I placed one of the large planter pots underneath the feeder to catch the shells. I figured, what the heck, its seed husks, it’ll decompose into nutrients. In the last couple weeks, however, some of the birds’ castaways from feeding have survived and are sprouting in the catch-pot.

Pip and I were both kind of surprised. We had both assumed that commercial bird seed was sterile(d). This doesn’t seem to be the case with the brand I bought though (Pike’s Nursery). So among the mystery plants that may or may not be growing in that pot (there are close to half a dozen sprouts at this point), are sunflower, safflower, millet and thistle. I’ll get a detailed list off the label and a photograph later.

Updated After the Cut


The bird seed in question contains Sunflower, Black Oil, Striped Sunflower, Safflower, Peanut, Millet and Thistle.

On a less pleasant note, I came home to catch a squirrel in one of my planters in the process of wreaking havoc upon several of my plants. The mystery planter is all but dead, with sprouts callously nibbled off and not even eaten. The Strawberry lost several stalks and the Squash has a badly damaged main stem; I’m not sure it will survive.

I vowed then and there that it is officially “on”. I will not rest until the squirrel(s) in question are JERKY.

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5 Responses

  1. Raven Owen says:

    I regularly have millet, sunflowers and safflower sprout under the bird feeders. I leave them to grow. Sunflowers never last to blooming.. the squirrels eat the heads off of the right at bloom time. Safflower however is a pretty little flower, yellow strap petals with red in the center as it ages.. I leave those where ever I can. I mow the millet unless it is someplace out of the way.. just in case some bird wants to eat it naturally… rare.

  2. syn74x says:

    This is pretty typical of all types of commercial bird seed that I’ve used. (Packets, or instance, if they hang around long enough and get wet). The real question is whether the resultant plant will bear any seeds itself….

  3. Mystech says:

    I figure these are “bonus” plants so no loss either way. I’ll keep them watered and tended, but I’m not going to mourn if nothing comes of them.

  4. Lemon says:

    To keep squirrels away from or keep them from eating your garden plants, mix this:

    * 1 gallon of water
    * 6 capfuls of Murphy’s Oil Soap
    * 2 Tbsp. of cayenne pepper

    Spray onto plants. It won’t harm the plants and WILL keep the squirrels away.

  5. Mystech says:

    I have an alternative solution…. one medium sized animal trap, dressing board, jerky solution and meat curing rack.

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