In a previous blog (Rip it up and start again) we looked at the re-drilling of our 1 year bird seed mix. As with many things in life, diversity is the key so we also have a strip of 2 year wild bird seed mix. Whereas the 1 year mix provides a higher proportion of oily seeds of particular favour with the linnets and finches, the 2 year mix has more ‘grains’ which appeal to birds such as the yellowhammers which have been doing so well. There are further benefits coming from maintaining an area for two years without change as well as benefits in terms of insect food important for the young of many species. Also, it means we do not have all our eggs in one basket and if we are less successful with the one year mix next year, we will already have something in the bag, as they say; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
With all seed mixes you want to get a ‘crop’, whether that’s pollen and nectar or overwintered seed. Without this ‘crop’ we’re wasting time and effort, so we were again concerned when only the cereals in the mix showed any degree of establishment. Again we took the decision in mid-June to direct drill more of the seed mix into the crop. As the picture shows we had much better establishment this time and look forward to providing a seed crop for any birds visiting the farm this winter.
It may have been a difficult season (though let’s be honest, isn’t it always!) but these seed strips remind me that we need to work with the year, whatever it brings.