Birds love seeds and seedlings.
Here’s how to protect a garden that has been freshly planted from becoming a snack bar for birds and other pests.
- Plant seeds twice as deep as the longest edge of the seed. If you plant large seeds shallowly, they may float to the surface and the birds will get them!
- Cover the garden with tulle netting or a light weight bed sheet in a single layer.
- Tack the edges of the netting down so that birds cannot get underneath the fabric. Use bricks, rocks or garden staples. This will also keep the fabric from flying away in the wind.
- Water as normal, wetting the garden once or twice a day to keep it moist. If you are using a sheet, it will absorb moisture and help to keep your seedlings wet.
- When the seedlings are 1-inch tall, remove the sheet. If pests are still attacking the garden, cover with fabric on a frame so that the seedlings won’t be weighed down when the sheet gets wet.
- Tulle netting can be left on the garden. It is lightweight, doesn’t absorb water and won’t affect seedling growth significantly. Drape it to the ground to keep pests off of your growing garden.
- If your plants require pollinators in order to fruit, lift the edges of the fabric in the morning when bees are active.
What veggies do not need pollinators to produce:
All leafy greens
Brassicas: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi
Below ground root veggies and tubers such as carrots, parsnips, salsify, potatoes, sweet potatoes, horseradish
Ground level root veggies such as beets, turnips, rutabagas
Most legumes including peas and beans
Corn—like other wind pollinated veggies, giving them a little shake helps distribute the pollen.
Herbs, like the lemon balm pictured
Onions and leeks
These veggies will all grow by themselves when planted from seed.
Learn more at Seed Saving: Starting Plants from Seed.