By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz –
One of the coolest things about being a country gardener is that I am constantly surrounded by wild things. These creatures are part and parcel of a healthy ecosystem and one of the rarest and most precious gifts that one can have. However, it goes without saying that on occasion we are forced to butt heads with the very wildlife that we cherish. Whether it’s the birds eating the blueberries, squirrels in the peach tree or a rabbit in the cabbage patch, we sometimes have to go to war to protect our share of the harvest. And after years of living and gardening in the backwoods I have learned that all creatures are compelled to survive, and that the best deterrent for pesky garden critters is to create a place for them to do just that.
Among the many methods we have used to ‘control’ pests, our best weapon has been to find and create a measure of balance – half of what we want and need and half of what they want and need. If we can provide some bit of habitat for the wild things as an alternative to our garden, like a particular plant that the butterflies need to feed on instead of my dill, or a place where the deer can find browse in summer instead of my beans, then that’s what we do.
Wild things prefer wild areas. They need them for feeding, sleeping and nesting. Brushy and grassy areas are nurseries for armies of good bugs, butterflies, bees and insect-eating birds. Sometimes simply letting an area grow over for a few years is all that it takes to create enough diversity to distract the wild things from your garden....
Read the entire article at Show Me Oz...
Jill Henderson is an artist, author and naturalist with a passion for wild edible and medicinal plants, organic gardening, seed saving and sustainable agriculture. She has written three books: The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons.