newly potted basil plant in window box disappeared

hellojelloMay 28, 2010

I have a perplexing situation that gives me the heebie jeebies, and I'd like to avoid this happening again, but I have no idea what caused it.

For about a month, I grew some sweet basil from one of those $1 packets that come with the little pellet of soil that you just add water to. It grew to a nice clump of leafy greens about 3 inches tall.

So I transferred the basil to a window box that sits outside my kitchen, which is not accessible from the ground level -- it hangs from a window one story up from the ground. Last year, we grew herbs successfully in this box and used them throughout the summer, without any issues.

I was away from home for a few days, but when I returned on Wednesday to check the basil, it was completely gone without a trace. No roots, no leaves, no hole in the soil, no signs of the plant having fallen down to the ground.

So basically in a matter of 3 days, something stole my basil, and there's no way it could have been a person (unless they set up and climbed a ladder to get to it, which is unlikely) or an animal who walks the ground (unless they managed to climb up one story up the side of the house with no support, which also seems unlikely). I also didn't see any signs of bugs.

Could it have been a bird? Do birds eat basil?

I just found the whole thing so odd because we didn't have this issue last year. And I really want to have my herbs but I don't want this happening again.

I did some searching of the archives but I only found instances of bugs or gophers getting to the plants, and my situation just doesn't appear to apply to that.

If anyone has insight or advice, I appreciate it.

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I've had weired things happen to me too. I think your idea of a bird may be on target. I would try again, put some sort of netting across the window box that will deter the bird this time. Funny, I have a fake owl in the garden this year for the same reason. My son found the owl in someone's trash pile, brought it home and I have not had a problem with birds on my peaches or squirrels for that matter!
Good luck

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 3:37PM
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Similar thing happened with some valerian I was hardening off. The soil wasn't disturbed and no trace of any roots or anything. I think it had to be a squirrel, but I don't know. I would think a bird might not be able to pull a plant out completely.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 5:08PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

You ever see an American Robin haul a huge earthworm out of the soil? Yeah, I think birds can pull out small plants. Small rodents, woodchucks, and rabbits are always the most likely candidates for mysterious disappearances of small plants though!


    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 7:20PM
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thank you for your thoughts! i'm going to try some other herbs today and put some netting or caging or something around it... so frustrating!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 4:21PM
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The birds in my garden sometimes appear to be wrestling or possibly fighting and when they do they appear to be careless about what they bump in to. I noticed 2 birds bumping into one of my small basil plants in a 14 inch pot but they did not uproot it, if they had bumped it one more time I was prepared to go out and break - it - up :-)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 5:53PM
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