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Broomcorn for the Birds

I have really been enjoying watching the birds this winter. Although they always love the black oil sunflower seeds and suet we put out for them, this year they seem to be particularly fond of the broomcorn a farmer friend gave to me.

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by Jessica WalliserFebruary 7, 2013
PHOTO: K M/Flickr

I have really been enjoying watching the birds this winter. Although they always love the black oil sunflower seeds and suet we put out for them, this year they seem to be particularly fond of the broomcorn a farmer friend gave to me. I have never used broomcorn as birdseed before, preferring to hang it as an autumn decoration on the front door, but this year, when she gave it to me, she told me to hang it up on the garden gate and watch the birds enjoy the seeds.

I ended up hanging the broomcorn on a shepherd’s hook next to our regular bird feeder and the birds have really enjoyed it. So much so that I am considering growing some broomcorn of my own this year.

Broomcorn is a type of sorghum but with a looser, more tassel-like head. It was—and still is—used to make natural broom filaments. Once the seeds are removed from the tassels, the filaments are both flexible and strong—perfect qualities for a hard-working broom! Although I don’t want to make a broom, if I do grow broomcorn in my garden this year, I will enjoy it both as a decoration and as bird food.

I found a mixture of red tasseled varieties from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an Amish rainbow blend from Botanical Interests, and a white variety from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. If I have enough room in the garden, I might end up blending all three packets together!

Click here to make broomcorn part of a craft garden. »

 

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