Each spring, we are always surprised to see things growing in our yard and gardens that shouldn’t be there. They are our “squirrel plantings”. One year, a very strange looking plant popped up in Nancy’s flower garden. It didn’t look like a weed, so we let it grow. It grew and grew, blossomed, then died. I finally pulled it up and found a cluster of peanuts. An enterprising squirrel had buried one of his treats instead of eating it. Often, we’ll find field corn coming up anywhere the ground has been cultivated, but sometimes in the middle of the yard.
This spring we have several “squirrel plantings” that we have left alone. I think one is a cantaloupe. Often when I take the seeds out of melons, I’ll put them in a plate and toss them in the yards. By the that afternoon, the squirrels and chipmunks have either eaten or buried them. Unfortunately, the squirrels are not very good planners and frequently plant where there is little sun and production is poor.
One of the most interesting of our squirrel plantings this year is a sunflower on the edge of my vegetable garden. It’s a towering sunflower. The thing is 7 feet high and still growing. I think it’s from one of those striped sunflower seeds. A few years back, a regular sunflower plant sprouted and only grew about 3 feet. The squirrels made quick work of it when it went to seed.
We would like to protect this sunflower because the head could be huge. But so far I haven’t the foggiest idea how to keep a squirrel from shimmying up the stalk and eating away. I suppose we’ll just have to let Mr. Squirrel enjoy the fruits of his own labor.