Last year I tried a few different things to get my sunflowers up and growing without the mice eating them every time they came out of the ground. You can read about some of my attempts here.
This year I planted sunflowers again, and I knew that I needed to try something new. I knew that I was planting my sunflowers in an area where there are mice. However I wanted to plant them in this particular space because it was partially blocked from the harsh winds we get here. In actuality it is common to get winds that are 20-40mph quite often.
I have lots of sunflower seeds and lots of determination, so I decided to go ahead and plant the seeds in the area that I knew had problems with mice. I also want to add that I have been told that if I can get the plants big enough then the mice won’t bother them anymore. So my solution only needed to protect the plants temporarily.
When I first planted the sunflowers I planted 25 seeds and I had 3 metal cans that I put around some of the seeds. I cut the top and bottom off the cans and stuck them about 1/2 inch into the dirt to provide a barrier between the mice and the sunflowers. Those cans protected the seeds as they grew. However I still had quite a few seeds that I had planted that weren’t protected by the cans. As I saw more of the plants break through the soil, I added cans around those plants to protect them.
Unfortunately the mice did discover where I was planting the sunflowers, and we found evidence of seeds they dug up and ate. The good news is that they didn’t touch the plants that were in the cans. I did want more sunflowers though, so I decided to plant seeds one more time. This time I again put the cans where the seeds were instead of waiting for them to grow to the surface to add cans. I am happy to report that the cans seem to be protecting these sunflowers from the mice until they can get big enough for the mice to ignore them.
I got this idea when some friends of mine told me they they knew a lady who used this method to protect her plants from the strong wind we get while the plants were still young and through spring which is an especially windy season for us. So although I used this method to protect from mice, it has also been used to protect young plants temporarily from strong winds.