As warm weather sets in and plants begin to grow, I thought it would be time to share this PSA with you:
Please do not use pesticides or herbicides in your gardens or lawns!
If you must use these to take care of harmful weeds or pests, please use safer alternative methods. Got aphids? Buy a bag of ladybugs! Mosquitoes? Set up hummingbird feeders to attract these mosquito eating birds to your garden. Other insect pests? Introduce predators such as preying mantises. Organic fungicides and herbicides are also available.
The fact is that pesticides are a major cause of bee population decline. At my old university, they had a beautiful garden full of bright, blooming flowers.
They also sprayed pesticide on these flowers.
Every day I walked by these flowers, there were hundreds of dead and dying bumblebees, bees, and other pollinators scattered around the flowers. They were lured in with the promise of sweet nectar and ultimately died horribly before able to pass the pollen on.
No bees means a lot of your favorite fruits and veggies will be gone. No more flowers either. Ecosystem collapse.
Save the bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other important pollinators (even the non-pollinating critters!) by keeping a pesticide free garden or yard.
Hay, have you ever seen a gardening / permaculture book, or study that embraces animals, not just insects, but livestock, and even native birds and animals? I have been giving thought to using goats and maybe even pigs to get my back acre ready for planting, but can't really find much on that sort of soil preparation. I have an idea of how it should go, but would like to find an example to follow. I would also like to see if anyone has ever enticed native animals to build up a planting area.
Goats foraging in an understory to reduce competition
Pigs tend to turn an area into muck, and also host a number of parasitic worms: they aren’t the best choice for site prep where you will be growing things like root crops. However, pigs have traditionally been used to “gley” a pond (seal the bottom with an anaerobic layer that prevent water from leaking). If you are prepping an area for water retention, dig it out and make it a pigpen for a year or so.
Pigs gleying a future pond
Other uses of livestock include duck/chicken assisted composting: birds forage in the compost for worms and other invertebrates, which fulfills a lot of their dietary protein requirements. The birds also turn the compost while they forage, and leave droppings, which seeds the compost with compost-activating microorganisms. This is something laughingduckpermaculturewrites about quite often.
Indian Runner Ducks are also well-known as being predators of slugs, so they are excellent to integrate into garden sites that are being established, as they will keep pests off of new growth. Plus, they look hilarious.
Runner Ducks: Yes, they do stand upright
Quails and Chickens both eat small weeds (that’s why they call it “Chickweed”) so in established spaces of cultivation, they are best left to roam around. My partner’s aunt has a huge free-range chicken pen with about 100 cultivars of Rhododendron, which are diligently kept weed-free by the girls.
I tag all of my livestock posts with #animal husbandry, so you are welcome to check out the archive! I’ll try and write some more in-depth posts about raising livestock; however, I am not writing from firsthand experience.
in my home, it is the couch in the living room! it’s so comfortable and i love the huge cushions on it!
outside of my home, i love three places. one is a waterstones bookstore. i love the smell of new books and just being surrounded by them makes me feel at ease. the second is a small family-run coffeeshop on the highstreet. they make an incredible hot chocolate and handmade salted caramel cookies that i adore. the final space is my grandmother’s conservatory. although i don’t see her anymore, this place was my favourite as a kid because i used to read as rain drummed onto the glass roof and ran down the windows. she also has a beautiful garden which attracted lots of beautiful small birds whom i loved to watch.
This is from a few weeks ago (and not a great picture), but we built a wee pond from mostly recycled materials/stuff we already had on-hand. Our goal was to keep it cheap, and make it attractive for frogs. In the end, the only thing we had to buy was the solar pump (which we got cheap) and the pond liner material, which was fairly cheap.
There’s lots of hiding places in the rocks for frogs and lizards, and the veggie beds around the pond are full of slugs, slaters, snails and other froggy savouries. It’s not the most elegant-looking thing in the world but it was cheap and we did it all ourselves. Even a small pond like this one will attract frogs and birds, who help keep garden pests under control. We already have lots of frogs in the garden, and wanted to encourage them to stick around. Within a week, a large eastern striped marsh frog had laid a raft of eggs near the rocks, so it was obviously judged and found suitable! Since then, a few more rafts of eggs have been laid, and we hear them at night hanging out in the rocks calling to each other. Just more wee froggies in my life forever, please