‘Treat the earth well, it was not given to you to your parents, it was loaned to you by your children’
Native American Proverb
Not that long ago gardeners were encouraged to keep their gardens tidy which in turn meant there would be little room for the likes of slugs/snails to find homes and ultimately devour our favoured flowers, fruit and veg. Now advice given is to encourage all manner of beings into the garden to provide a diverse range of species, which in turn means less chemicals needed to kill the pests.
We have always been an advocate of bio diversity, encouraging wildlife into the flower fields, which in turn has helped us with pests, nutrition and pollination. For the first time this year, the flower field had a new arrival, bees. We are lucky to have an expert bee keeper, Mike, in the village. Mike has been looking after our new residents and it has been really fascinating learning all about these little workaholics . At present they are all tucked away in the hive, bundled together in a large ball, protecting the queen, until the weather warms up and they will all spring into life again.
We have also built a brown hedge on the farm and it has been really interesting (especially for the children) to see who has taken residence in this new home.
It’s not until we sat down and thought about all the different areas of the farm and how beneficial these are to nature, that we realised just how easy it is to encourage different types of wildlife. We have several spinneys, the river, ditches, hedges, trees, ponds, compost heaps, leaf mounds, log piles, long grass not cut, bird boxes and various buildings for birds like owls to nest in.
We do get bothered by slugs, snails, greenfly etc but now we have a diverse range of wildlife here it’s meant that predators who are willing to feast on these beasts have a home and continuous food supply, this has in turn meant that we no longer suffer as much with damage from pests.
We read last week that there is more organisms in a handful of good homemade compost than there are people on the planet. So we challenge you all to be a little untidy in the garden; don’t cut back everything before winter, to give creatures somewhere to hibernate, keep the grass just that bit longer, make your own compost, make your own bug hotel, and let some of the leaves under your hedge decompose instead of tidying them all away.
Finally, now is the ideal time to put up a nest box. As the days get longer, birds are starting to check out that all important nesting site. Robins love nesting in tea pots, pans hug up behind ivy (just don’t hang too high).
Have a good week everyone.