Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding -

LIZ POT­TER Ed­i­tor, Gar­den An­swers Wait­ing for seeds to ger­mi­nate can be deadly dull when you’re small, so to keep chil­dren in­ter­ested it’s best to give them seeds that are easy to han­dle, and ones that are also quick to sprout. Mus­tard and cress seeds are a good win­dowsill pro­ject and can be sown at any time. Wash out an al­most in­tact boiled egg shell and fill it with damp cot­ton wool. Draw a smi­ley face on the front and sprin­kle the seeds on the cot­ton wool. Keep the cot­ton wool damp and they’ll quickly sprout like green hair from the eggshell. Sun­flow­ers are easy to han­dle and quick to ger­mi­nate. Start seeds off by early June in con­tain­ers of damp com­post on an out­door ta­ble and sow lots, to ac­count for losses to snails and slugs. Go for gi­ant cul­ti­vars such as ‘Rus­sian Gi­ant’ (8-10ft) and ‘Mon­go­lian Gi­ant’ (14ft) for most im­pres­sive re­sults. Plant out the seedlings in a sunny bor­der when they’re large enough to han­dle and don’t for­get to stake them as they grow so they don’t top­ple over in the breeze. Make sure they don’t go dry dur­ing pe­ri­ods of drought and leave the seed­heads for the birds af­ter they’ve be­gun to fade.

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