Saturday, June 16, 2012

Growing Bird Seed and Broccoli

When I was a child I used to love growing our budgie's seed. I would nestle the seeds down on a saucer of cotton wool on the window sill and nurture them to life. My little soul would derive great joy in watching all the different sorts of seed rapidly unfold, each in their own unique way. Perhaps it was the first stages of my inner gardener being awoken.

This week we cut a milk carton in half and filled it with a layer of cotton wool, scattered some birdseed over the top, and gave it all a light water -until all the cotton wool was just wet.  The seeds were placed near the fireplace so they had plenty of warmth. Within 3 days seeds were emerging - much to the Bowerbird's delight.  We shifted the seeds to the window sill, so they would get more light, and they have grown and grown. This has been a great vessel for the little Bowerbird to play with, as there was nothing to spill or break.  There were no precious seeds in the mix so everyone was free to poke and play with them. Once the discovery was made that the sunflower shoots were edible, and in fact very tasty, there was a mass frenzy to pluck and chew. I explained monocotyledons and dicotyledons witthe middle Bowerbird and discussed which seeds were which. Everything was sampled, even the roots. I think we might need to grow some micro greens next.  In the mean time this has become a birdseed jungle for some little plastic animals.

Last weekend, when I was ill, I managed to cajole the big Bowerbird to plant some Romanesco broccoli for me, I hate not being able to garden. I've got a great variety of brassicas in this winter, we are already eating cauliflowers and traditional broccolli and soon to arrive will be purple sprouting broccolli, calabrese broccolli and Cavalo Nero Kale. I think she will be very chuffed when she sees her efforts all grown up, Romanesco broccoli is so cool. They remind me of those computer generated fractal images that were so popular in the 90s. The brassicas have all been given a good dose of horse poo which should help them power along.

Organic Heirloom Broccoli Romanesco Seed RARE gourmet

These little Eastern Spinebills are pipping constantly outside at the moment. This Grevillea is their favourite plant to visit through winter although they are also taken with the nectar from Correas and Pineapple Sage.  Whilst they are always abundant, they are small and fast and terribly hard to photograph.  It is fun trying though, I'd love to get  a picture of the Scarlet Robins that are catching insects in our mulch, they're very flighty and I find small children are especially noisy when you're trying to take photos.

Playing along with Let the Children Play
let the children play


  1. Hope your feeling better now, the big bowerbird must of felt very important helping to plant out the new broccoli seedlings. I have planted both Romanesco and Green dragon this season as well as Tuscan and Italian Curly Kale. So far the Romanesco is growing the best, i do give them a little feed every 2 weeks and so far the frosts don't seem to have bothered them.
    I have been trying to take photos of the birds that visit our gardens with not much success, a Scarlet Robin(first time i have seen one) landed on our picket fence but soon as i moved off it flew.............Do you have many visits from the Robins?

  2. ha, ok, don't laugh but my Sunday night frazzled brain thought.."Now just how is she going to go about harvesting this bird seed of hers?"!! To funny. I remember a family friend showing me how to grow chook grain the same way. So much fun to see it sprout up.

    Beautiful bird sighting, too! So pretty. :)

  3. I love Eastern spinebills, so graceful given their small size. I'm growing Romanesco for the first time this year - really looking forward to it, hopefully my kids like both the shape and taste.....

  4. My daughter has just become fascinated with seed pods and after explaining to her that trees grow from them, she planted one in the garden... it's definitely time to plant some fast growing seeds! Great idea to do it in a milk container.
    Awesome bird and photography definitely do not go together!


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young