Farming Advice and Folklore: Birds Eating Seed, Basil and Tomatoes and Saltshaker Seeding

Farming advice and folklore from MOTHER and her readers, including keeping birds from eating seed, planting basil and tomatoes together for better flavor and using a saltshaker for seeding the garden.

| March/April 1988

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore, including how to keep birds from eating your freshly sown seed, planting basil and tomatoes together yields a better flavor for tomatoes and a saltshaker is the perfect tool for seeding the garden. 

MOTHER's Country Farming Advice and Folklore

Gardens Galore 

For years I had problems with birds pulling up as much as 50% of my germinating sweet corn. A friend advised me to sprinkle lime on the row, and on either side too, just as the corn breaks through the soil. Since doing this I haven't lost a bit of corn.

—Tim Basinger
Campbellsburg, Indiana

The Choice of Experience  

I start more than 500 seedlings in flats each spring, and over many years I've experimented with various bottom-heating methods to speed the sprouting process and promote deep root growth. My time-saving favorite is a large electric food-warming tray (they're fairly common at garage sales and secondhand stores). With the tray's heat control at the lowest setting, an entire flat can be sprouted in 48 to 72 hours. Plastic wrap placed loosely over the top retains moisture. As each flat of seedlings sprouts, I set it under fluorescent lights in our cool basement and keep it moistened with rainwater collected throughout the summer and stored in gallon plastic jugs.

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