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Attracting Birds to Your Garden

August 24th, 2011

A well kept garden is a great place to relax, enjoying all
the sights and sounds nature has to offer. One of those pleasures is birds,
nature’s little pets that come around showing their brilliant colors and
singing their sweet songs for our enjoyment. Attracting birds, particularly
specific breeds of birds, to your garden can be a hard task. Today, we’ll look
at some of the things you can do to turn your garden into a birding paradise
all year long.

 

Plants & Shrubs

Greenery is a natural feature of any yard and a  surefire way to have the birds flocking to your home. Use plants that have a lot of nectar in their blossoms, as birds just can’t resist coming to them. A  good mix of annuals and perennials will help you get a variety of birds in your
backyard. Shrubbery and trees are also a welcome addition, as they give birds a  shady area and spots to sit up off the ground away from predators. Keep in mind  that with any planting it’s best to use native species, as they’ll do the best  in your area. Native plants will attract birds native to the region as well, giving you a chance to get a good look at the birds from your region.

 

Bird Bath

One of the staples for attracting birds, a bird bath  serves as a great resting spot for them and a decorative accessory for the  home. They give birds a place to get cleaned up, get a drink, and play around  for a bit. They also give you a great opportunity to watch them – just take a  peek out your window or step out on the patio and you’re sure to see birds  frolicking in the water. While there are many styles of bird baths out there, look for one that has a fountain head in the middle that keeps a steady stream of water flowing. The moving water will entice more birds to come to it.

 

Bird Feeder

If you’re going to give your birds a drink, you should feed them too! Bird feeders are a natural companion to bird baths and a welcome
sight for any bird that’s passing by your home. All that flying takes a lot of energy, so they’re always looking for some extra nutrients. The types of bird  feeders available vary greatly, ranging from long tubes that hold seed to hummingbird feeders that only hold nectar to birdhouse style feeders with cages  to hold suet cakes. When setting up your bird feeder, make sure to place it high enough off the ground that pets like cats or dogs can’t reach it – you don’t want them scaring off the birds!

 

Seed Types

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that different types of birdseed will attract different birds. Here’s a rundown of some of the more common types and the birds that like them:

Black Oil Sunflower – Cardinals, chickadees,
finches, and many other species

Thistle – Smaller birds, like buntings, finches,
and siskins

White Millet – Doves, juncos, and native
sparrows, among others

Cracked Corn – Blackbirds, jays, and pigeons

Premixed birdseed is also available at most home improvement stores. They often contain a mix of different types of seeds to bring different birds to your home.

Turning your garden into a bird sanctuary is easy if you  know what to do. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have the birds flocking to your backyard in no time!

 

About The Author – Tina Foreman is a writer with Outdoor Living. She loves outdoor decorating, playing with her dogs, and working in the garden. For more on products like bird baths, planters, garden fountains, and propane fire pits,  visit OutdoorLiving.com.

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The Farmer’s Garden

June 22nd, 2011

 

Guest Blogger Maureen Farmer has come up with the perfect solution for all of you ‘locavores.’  She has created a mash-up of her passions (gardening + web development) and as a result started The Farmer’s Garden – Your Online Resource for Local Produce.

The Idea

A few years ago, I tried vegetable gardening in one 3 by 6 raised bed to save money, eat healthier and become more self-sufficient. I was so thrilled with the outcome that the next year I enrolled in my State’s Extension Service Master Gardener program. I discovered that I had a passion for growing vegetables and wanted to learn more about gardening in general.

Since then, every year I have expanded my garden by building one or two additional raised beds. Now I have eight raised beds and grow more varieties of vegetables and herbs every year. This year I’m trying potatoes and acorn squash for the first time. I also built a miniature greenhouse out of old metal storm windows so that I can extend my growing season. I also use it as a place to start my seedlings in the spring.

I tend to get a little carried away and end up harvesting more produce than I can eat, freeze and give away. I soon realized that I am delighted to give my extra vegetables and herbs away to my family, friends, and neighbors. People seem genuinely happy to receive a bag of mixed greens or a zucchini. As the saying goes – one of the most difficult things to give away is kindness; it usually comes back to you.

My current profession is a web application developer/project manager. Two years ago, I taught myself the PHP programming language to supplement my existing programming skills. Home gardening is growing more popular every year and everyone enjoys just harvested homegrown produce. I had the idea to combine my profession and passion to create The Farmer’s Garden so everyone can have access to locally grown food.

It’s Easy

The Farmer’s Garden is the place to post free classified ads to sell, trade or give away your excess backyard produce. Individuals and food pantries can also register and post wanted classifieds. Free registration is required to post a classified (we need to know your zip code for it to work), but anyone can search for ads within their local area.

If you’re looking for fresh locally grown seasonal produce, visit The Farmer’s Garden website. Simply enter your US zip code, select the radius that you are willing to travel and see what people in your area have to offer. Share your surplus harvest with people in your area. You’ll be surprised how wonderful a small act of kindness will make you feel.

Many backyard gardeners also grow varieties of produce not found in your local grocery store. This is a terrific opportunity to taste new foods. If you don’t know how to prepare something, ask the grower. He or she will probably offer you several tasty recipes to try. You might even make a new friend in the process.

Join Us

The Farmer’s Garden is relatively new, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for today, try again next week. We have registered users in almost every state and the number of visitors to the website has been steadily increasing every month. We’re growing every day.

About the Author: 

 Maureen Farmer is a master gardener and has loved plants all her life. She enjoys growing vegetables, herbs and flowers in her yard, writing gardening articles and giving advice to her acquaintances. She grows most of her own produce in homemade wooden raised beds.

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