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Grow with KARE: Grow your own birdseed

Raise your hand if you’re a bird nerd! Birdseed is expensive! But growing your own birdseed is totally doable. We have a few plant suggestions.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Raise your hand if you’re a bird nerd!

Birdseed is expensive! But growing your own birdseed is totally doable.

Sunflower seeds are some of the most popular birdseeds to buy in a store. After enjoying the beautiful sunflowers of late summer, let the heads and seeds dry naturally on the plant. You can either leave them stand as is, or harvest the heads and lay them out for the birds to find. Cardinals, jays, woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches - along with many others - all like these sunflower seeds and can handle the hard shell.

But many other flowers offer birds food in the winter, as long as you leave them standing and don’t cut them down in the fall.

As usual, natives are best.

Cone flowers, sedum, coreopsis and black and brown-eyed susans are great seed producers too.

Birds will also get a great winter meal from asters, goldenrod, bee balm and allium.

Not a native but my personal feathered friends love my lemon verbena.

Annuals like zinnias, moss roses, marigolds and cosmos produce seeds too that birds can enjoy come winter.

Then don’t forget the grasses!

Switchgrass, sea oats, millet and feather reed grass are great seed producers and add interest to the winter garden.

Even though finches love them, you might want to avoid the thistles. We do have some native thistle in our KARE 11 Prairie out front!