Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Sunflowers @ Farcet Fen

By 'eck! What's this? A field margin strip of sunflowers on the fen. Fantastic!

Sunflower strip on Farcet Fen

Today I decided to take a closer look, and whilst doing so, met Martin, the manager of this and two other such strips on the fen planted for game cover. Martin explained that his small shoot were looking at ways of creating better cover strips for pheasants which not only looked more attractive than the horrible looking traditional maize strips, but were also better for the pheasants and the local wildlife community.

Well I think they've hit on a winner with this. The strips have been planted under the new 5m field margin scheme. Sunflowers and quinoa (a South American version of Fat Hen) have been planted together to provide a wealth of food once the plants have ripened and dropped their seed. Plenty of sun reaches the ground below the bushy stand of taller plants, and the whole place is alive with insects. Whilst I was there a male Yellowhammer was buzzing around the strip.

The winter will be the time to tell if it has worked as a cover strip. As long as the plants remain standing and provide decent cover through to Jan/Feb time, then it will be deemed a success. Lets just hope all this free sunflower and quinoa seed doesn't take too many birds away from my garden!

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