Microwaving birdseed is a great way to keep it from sprouting in my lawn, but I'm worried it has a negative effect on the seeds' nutritional value. What's your opinion?
—Barbara Chidester, Homedale, Idaho
George: Microwaves don't affect the nutritional value of human foods, so there's no reason to believe they would reduce the nutrition of birdseed. You can also use niger (thistle), which already has been sterilized. Others, like sunflower in the shell, may grow a few sprouts but shouldn't be a huge problem.