Over winter bird food

Every year we plant areas around the farm to provide a source of food for our population of farmland birds during the colder winter months. With this years weather pattern, this has proved to be some what of a challenge. Due to the very cold wet start to the spring and extremely high slug pressure, many of our mixes failed. Normally our bird food mixes contain both cereals and small seeds, to provide a variety of food for our many different species. With several attempts to establish these areas through the spring failing, we were forced to try again during the summer months. Again the weather decided it wasn't going to be very helpful and we went for months without any significant rain to get the seed to germinate.

Because of the short season that we now had to get a crop established, grow through its growth cycle and then produce some all important seed to provide some winter food. We decided to switch from a mix containing cereals to more brassicas. Fast growing kale, mustards and raddishes make up the mix. Thankfully we finally got a decent rainfall event and with the very warm soil temperatures the crop very quickly got up and away. Although we are not going to be able to provide the quantity and range of food that we would like. If the temperatures don't drop to quickly as we head through the autumn there will be something to help cover the hunger gap. As always this will be topped up by some supplementary food that we place around the farm.