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More newbie questions!

Hi all - a couple more questions from this newbie gardener:  I'm thinking of getting one of those stand-in-the-ground birdfeeding stations, as I have a large rat who gets into my feeders near the hedge. But my soil is not great. Would this be a problem? And should I get one with a concrete base instead?  And secondly - I keep reading about 'mulch' and some say to use bark chippings as mulch and others talk about using compost as mulch. Which is best? I have very poor soil so want to give my plants some nourishment and moisture.  Thanks! :)


  • B3B3 Posts: 27,019
    I'd say poor soil - especially if it's clay would hold onto the spikes better than good soil.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • @B3 Thank you - hope so! :)
  • The area immediately under your feeders will be useless for planting. Though you can change the area used, it is probably best to resign yourself to this and contain the damage. Bark will most likely get kicked all over the place!
      Some birds, like goldfinches, drop loads of food while others, like chaffinches, constantly patrol to hoover up the crumbs. The ground gradually gets compacted and seedlings/small plants don't stand a chance, plus the leaves get covered in white splashes! It gets worse with larger birds if you get any - I get ducks and pheasants as well as blackbirds and sometimes Corvids :)
    I had a concrete base but it was not substantial enough to cope in my windswept garden. It might be better in a less exposed spot.  The feeder works well in firm soil or in a sunken pipe like that for an umbrella or clothes drier. 
    You may need to add an 'upside-down umbrella' type baffle to prevent the rat climbing the pole.
    Happy birdfeeding :)

  • @Buttercupdays - thank you! I have mostly sparrows and a wood pigeon who patrols underneath for scraps (and the rat, of course!). My garden can be windswept too, so I think I'll try the soil-based feeding station and hope for the best by trying it in different spots. The mulch question was a separate one really - just generally unsure whether to use bark or compost for plant and young tree mulching. :)
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,019
    My feeder is stuck in the 'lawn'. The grass around it has gone and replaced by daisies. I don't mind because I like daisies better than grass😊
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • @B3 I like daisies too! :) 
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,163
    I use bark chippings for mulch around shrubs and trees, though blackbirds tend to chuck it about. It's to keep down weeds and keep in moisture.

    I use compost, homemade if possible though I never have enough, and leaf mould for flower beds. The compost also provides some plant food and improves soil.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • @Busy-Lizzie Thank you - that's really clear and helpful. Will try these! :)
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