May 20, 2009

On Freakishly Intelligent Squirrels and Seed Aroma

I have been planting seeds most of the week, and today I finished off the last of the flowers while starting the vegetables. In one section of my yard I planted some zucchini seeds, which require a small mound of loose dirt for best germination.

Pictured on your left is one of the mounds after it had been ransacked by a squirrel intelligent enough to know that a half-dozen zucchini seeds had just been buried. The image came out with lower definition than I intended, so I photo-shopped six red boxes to indicate the original hexagonal placement of the seeds in the mound.

The sneaky bastard rifled through this mound within 20 minutes of the seeds being planted. My question is this: did the squirrel watch me plant the seeds, or do zucchini seeds have such a powerful aroma that they attract squirrels within a 100-yard radius?

I ask this because this is not the first time that squirrels have scavenged through planted seeds like zucchini, squash, and pumpkin. There is a common denominator, of course, in that all of these plants belong to the plant family Cucurbitaceae.

In doing a little Internet research, I came across a gardener with a similar plight. Interestingly, the thieving squirrel buried the seeds elsewhere on the property, and the squirrel's buried cache produced better butternut squash than did the seeds of the gardener.

My new strategy is simple: I dumped a half-pound of bird seed a few yards away from the zucchini mounds. I figure the squirrels will be too busy the next few days eating the unexpected bounty to bother with a few dozen buried seeds. If not, perhaps the squirrels might be interested in obtaining online insurance quotes instead of raiding my gardens.


JD said...

Squirrels are diabollically evil, and it's not the aroma.


historymike said...

Maybe so, JD. They certainly had the prescience to rapidly pilfer my zucchini seeds.