Protect Vegetable Seedlings From Birds

pea seedlingsHow can I stop birds from eating my pea and bean seedlings as they come up?

Answer: Birds can create a wonderful sense of serenity as they flutter about, sing beautiful melodies, splash in birdbaths and graze happily from your feeders. However, seeing those same birds mischievously picking away at your young seedlings and plants makes you not so serene, but quite the opposite.

There are many different suggestions for how to protect your young sprouts from pecking birds—you just have to find the solution that works best for you. Here are a few of the most common methods for stopping birds from eating young seedlings:

•    You can protect an entire row of your seedlings by constructing a tunnel of bird netting.

•    Try protecting individual seedlings by placing plastic berry baskets over them. In a similar technique, ome gardeners suggest taking a clean, clear soda bottle and cutting the bottom off of it. Then place the bottle over an individual seedling and take the cap off. This way the seedling gets sunshine and air but the birds can’t reach it.

•    If the two above methods do not tickle your fancy, you can try the old-fashioned scarecrow trick. Scarecrows have been around for centuries—and for good reason. They seem to work well for many people. Some suggest using scary masks or owl silhouettes also—get creative.

•    Birds are also said to not like reflection. Try hanging shiny objects around your plants. A popular trick is to hang old compact discs or DVDs off of clothesline or from individual stakes.

With whichever method you choose to keep birds out of your plants, remember that having birds in general can be beneficial for your garden. Our feathery friends not only sing charming melodies, but they also feast on harmful insects that could wreak havoc on gardens.

Image: Rasbak
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