If you have an insect problem in your garden, stop feeding the birds with bird feeders during the growing season. Ask your neighbors to do the same. We need birds to do what birds do naturally every day…hunt for food. And, we want a large portion of that food to be insects. You are doing your bug infested garden no good if you are intentionally drawing most major insect predators away from it.
For an insect infested garden, we need hungry birds and as long as they have a steady supply of bird feeders to eat from, why go after the insects. In a world without humans, there are no bird feeders, there are only natural food supplies.
Now granted, there are good and bad insects and birds are not discriminatory. But, there are always far more bad insects than good ones. That’s the nature of the predator vs prey world. Predators tend to gravitate towards the largest area of food sources. A large population (bad bugs) will be more attractive than a small one (good bugs).
Also, stop killing, and start encouraging spiders, praying mantises, wasps, and other predatory insects. They are the best defense against bad bugs. It’s called integrated pest management or, letting nature take care of its own.
This should be a seasonal thing. In the winter months, there are no insect problems and the birds could probably use a little help since we humans have wiped out most of their natural habitats and food supplies. At this time, put out the bird feeders.
If we stop feeding the birds during the growing seasons of the year, they will find other sources of food, including your garden damaging bug population.
I can already hear the moans, groans, and naysayers about lawn grass in a permaculture landscape. I used to be that way myself. The mantra has always been, ‘get rid of all the grass, it’s non-productive, you can’t eat it, it has no value to wildlife, and it’s labor & resource intensive to keep’.
Some of this is true. It can be labor intensive if you have too much of it. It also has no food value, to humans at least. But, it’s not non-productive to humans or wildlife. To me, it makes sense to have a little lawn grass around. Continue reading How Lawns Can Benefit The Permaculture Garden
One of the most common questions I got asked at the garden center was how to get rid of voles and moles. In this article, I will only cover voles since moles, as obnoxious as they can be, don’t harm plants. Voles, however, are very destructive to plants and while there are chemical and natural deterrents available, I prefer to use barriers of plants that are unappealing to these root eaters. Continue reading Voles vs Daffodils
Farmers are giving up the plow and doing what’s best for the life of their soil. The wise ones are at least, as they’ve learned the benefits of no-till farming.
What’s Wrong With Tilling
First, you have to understand soil. Good soil is made up of complex organisms and structure, just like a human city. Tilling the soil is the equivalent of destroying a city with a nuclear bomb. All of the living organisms are destroyed or displaced, and the infrastructure is no longer usable. Just as people don’t thrive in bombed out cities, plants don’t thrive in a soil structure that’s been destroyed. Continue reading Stop Tilling Your Soil! Go No-Till
Pruning is an art because when you do it, you are creating a new sculpture by changing the shape of the plant. Yes, there are other benefits, like improving health, managing size, improving fruit bounty, and, frankly, it’s a meditative experience too, at least for me.
Pruning as an Art
One of the things I enjoy about pruning is standing back, and looking at the plant’s shape and structure afterward. It’s like working with a sculpture. It’s pleasing to see a tree particularly, standing strong, with healthy branches reaching out in different directions. The goal is always to make the tree stronger, healthier, and more productive by opening up the canopy to allow room for more light to come it and allowing room for healthy branches to grow. Continue reading Pruning Is An Art