Gardening to encourage wildlife

It will soon be time to start thinking about the garden. Whether you have a field, a small patch or a balcony, there are things that experts recommend each of us plant on our little piece of nature that are beneficial for wildlife.

If you’re lucky enough to have a sizable garden, then creating different areas is a great way to encourage all sorts of creatures into your space.

Leaving leaf and wood piles is helpful for hedgehogs whose numbers have been in rapid decline over the past few decades. Having hedgehogs to eat your slugs and snails will also save your strawberries and salad crops too.

Even a small number of wildflowers will create a
haven for bees. Another species that is sadly in decline, the bees are the ones we really need to cater for.
A couple of pots on a balcony planted with a bee-friendly wildflower seed mix will go some way towards doing your bit to help. These seeds are widely available and easy to grow, and will attract butterflies too.

If you have enough space, a pond is a great addition to any garden. It encourages dragonflies, damselflies, frogs and newts – children love to see frogspawn turn to tadpoles and then frogs, and you will appreciate their help in keeping the caterpillar, beetle and slug populations down.

One frog can eat up to 100 insects in one night – better than you having to collect snails and throw them over the hedge!

In your fruit and vegetable patch, companion planting is the way forward. Rather than using chemicals to control the various pests that are regularly encountered, plant different crops together to combat aphid infestations and supress weeds.

Planting sweetcorn, beans and squash together is known as ‘the three sisters’. The plants help each other in using the light and keep any weeds down.

Planting onions and carrots together confuses carrot-fly as the scent on the onions overpowers that of the carrot.

Plant cauliflowers with nasturtiums – the nasturtiums will be the plant the caterpillars go for which will keep them off your brassicas.

Even if you’re just growing tomatoes in hanging
baskets outside your front door, plant pots of mint,
basil and marigolds underneath to deter aphids and have some delicious herbs to go with your home-grown tomato salad.

Laura White

Author: Laura White

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