We are back to blogging, after a forced break due to computer issues, vacations, and other fun and frivolous disruptions to the online world.
Meanwhile, I’m not enjoying the heat here in urban Concrete-ville, but a few critters around make it more bearable as I work in my gardens. From anoles to yellowtail butterflies on my zinnias, the gardens are full of life. It is no accident that these critters can survive in an urban environment. I plan for their existence, and feel sure that you can attract them to your residence as well.
This morning, while watering my garden plots, I saw:
- A toad where I turn on my water
- Several varieties of Predatory Wasps zooming throughout the gardens looking for pests
- A baby anole amongst the melon vines
- 3 varieties of bees on the sunflowers by my plots (honey, mason, bumble)
- swallowtail butterflies
- a hummingbird zooming and perching on my trellis
- dragonflies searching for gnats and mosquitoes
- Robins, mockingbirds, and a hawk in a nearby tree (good for squirrel reduction!)
How can you invite these critters to your gardens?
- Absolutely NO CHEMICALS! Chemicals kill, and they are not just killing the things you want to kill, but the entire food chain from horny toads to hawks and owls. Not only that, but the toughest bugs or weeds will withstand the chemical and produce stronger, more resistant varieties that will require harsher chemicals to kill. Meanwhile, you poison all of nature’s defenses that fight against those pests and pollute and poison our entire environment. If the bees, worms, toads and other wildlife are not there—it is an indication that you have an environment toxic to you as well.
- Imagine your garden as an ecosystem and plant for species diversification and habitat. No place in nature is a monoculture. Our current agricultural systems (with large fields of single species) are an invitation to pests and disease. I plant my gardens to resemble nature’s ecosystems—the prairie or rainforest. Inter-planting root vegetables with leafy greens, or tall plants like okra with low lying melon plants and including flowers helps you invite a variety of creature to help you manage your gardens.
- Access to water: Bird baths, butterfly puddles, a shallow dish along the ground for lizards and toads
- Add clay pots and half bury them into the ground for toad houses, mason bee houses, a trellis for birds to perch on, etc.
- Add bee, butterfly, and hummingbird habitats close to or in your garden space. These will make your gardening more fun and more productive as they pollinate your crops and the hummingbirds eat small insects that bother you and your plants.
Enjoy your natural world, and enjoy the help these creatures give you as they naturally make your gardening more productive and less “pesty”.