Probably one of the most important parts to owning a garden and making it work. I know this sounds abit over the top but it is true. If you don’t wish to spray chemicals all around your plants, fruits and vegetables, then this is the only way it can work. You have to encourage the good guys into your garden to deal with the bad guys!!
So you need Hedgehogs, Frogs, Toads, Slow worms, Beetles, Song thrush and Blackbirds to eat your slugs and snails.
If you want compost to help grow your plants and not spend a fortune on compost you need worms, micro-organisms, woodlice and bugs to break down your grass, vegetable peelings, weeds, prunings, cardboard and paper.
If you don’t want plants eaten by greenfly, blackfly, caterpillars, wholly aphids, wireworm, capsid bug, thrips…… encourage the birds, ladybirds, hoverflies, lacewings, parasitic wasps, wasps and hornets who will devour the pests. Do we really need to be spraying our fruit and veg, I know I avoid it at all costs and certainly encourage this to be passed on to our children and future generations. If we all look after our wildlife it will certainly look after us?
Each month I give advice on what needs to be done to encourage wildlife – Silversurfers.com under Lifestyle and Gardening. It can be simple things such as feeding the birds, keeping feeders and bird baths clean, and replenishing with fresh water day to day if possible.
A pond if you have room is the most enjoyable, relaxing, time wasting, wildlife friendly thing you can build, not so relaxing if you build it yourself, but a greater sense of achievement.
Nest boxes put up around your garden, hide them away above cats reach, not south-facing and out of sight from Magpies and Jays. Invest in woodcrete boxes – C.J Wildbird Foods, I have some over 15 years old and are still going strong, and no maintenance. Empty the old nest out once a year ideally between August and October time.
A really good mixture of plants that flower all year round, give interest, flower and nectar for the insects and bees, berries and fruit for the birds. Evergreens give protection from wind, somwhere to take shelter and provide valuable nesting sites. A quiet area with a log pile, old tiles, pots, hedgehog house, bamboo sticks cut up for animals, bugs and insects to hide and hunker down for winter – frogs, toads, newts, the back or side of a shed is ideal. If you can, a small area of long grass/weeds and even better sow or plant wildflowers, this and a pond will bring in loads of the Good Guys!!
The reward for encouraging wildlife into any garden is immeasurable. It keeps you sane, relaxes you, de-stresses you, puts a smile on your face, surprises you, is enchanting and captivating. Unfortunately I broke my leg in February 2014 and was unable to work or drive for six months, I can only thank the birds, bees, bugs, hedgehogs etc for keeping me sane!!!