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  • Writer's pictureLucy Chatman

Transform Your Garden into a Wildlife Haven

By Lucy Chatman

In today's urbanized world, wildlife is increasingly losing natural habitats, which are crucial for their survival and the health of our ecosystems. As green spaces shrink, creating a wildlife-friendly garden can be a significant step toward reversing this trend. Not only does this support local fauna, but it also enhances your well-being and connects you with the community. Here’s how you can make a big difference right from your own backyard.

1. Choose Native Plants

Native plants are not just beautiful—they're a lifeline for local wildlife. They provide essential food and shelter, helping to maintain biodiversity.

Smart Move: Visit a local nursery to discover native plants that thrive in your area and start integrating them into your garden.

2. Provide Water Sources

Water attracts a variety of wildlife, from birds to small mammals. A simple addition of a water feature can bring your garden to life.

Smart Move: Set up a birdbath or a small pond and enjoy the variety of wildlife it attracts. Remember to change the water regularly to keep it clean and inviting.

3. Create an Earthworm House

These are vital for the soil as they improve its structure, nutrient content, and drainage capabilities through their burrowing actions and digestion process.

Smart Move: See the inset on the following page for instructions to build your own earthworm house!

Creating an earthworm house is a fantastic way to promote beneficial species in your garden without attracting unwanted pests like rodents. Earthworms are incredibly beneficial for the soil as they enhance its fertility and structure, which in turn supports healthier plant growth.

Here's how you can set up an earthworm house or worm farm in your garden:

  • Choose the Right Location: Select a shady spot in your garden for the worm house to keep the environment cool and moist for the worms. It should also be conveniently located near your kitchen or garden waste sources for easy feeding.

  • Prepare a Worm Bin: You can use a specially designed worm bin or adapt a standard container. Ensure it has drainage holes at the bottom to avoid water accumulation and is deep enough to allow for the layering of soil and organic material.

  • Add Bedding: Line the bin with moist bedding made from shredded newspaper, cardboard, or coconut coir. This will provide a habitat for the worms to live and breed.

  • Introduce Earthworms: Red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) are the most commonly used species in worm farms because they thrive on organic waste. Add these worms to your bin along with a bit of the soil they came in.

  • Feed Your Worms: Start feeding your worms with kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Avoid meat, dairy, and oily foods as these can attract pests. Feed them a small amount at a time until you see how quickly they consume the waste.

  • Maintenance: Keep the bedding moist and aerate it by turning it occasionally to provide oxygen for the worms. Harvest the worm castings periodically to use as high-quality fertilizer for your plants.

  • Cover and Insulate: Cover the bin to keep it dark and moist inside, as worms are sensitive to light and dryness. During colder months, consider insulating the bin to protect the worms from extreme temperatures.

  • Integrate into Your Garden: The best time to add earthworms to your garden is during the cooler, moist periods of spring or fall. Avoid introducing them during extreme hot or cold temperatures. After preparing your soil with organic matter and ensuring it's free from chemicals, simply scatter the worms on the soil surface in the evening and gently incorporate them into the top layer. This helps them settle in and start benefiting your garden right away.

By focusing on an earthworm house, you contribute to soil health and support your garden’s ecosystem without the risk of attracting rodents. This approach aligns well with a wildlife-friendly garden philosophy, enhancing both the productivity and ecological harmony of your space.

4. Avoid Chemicals: Pesticides and herbicides can be harmful to the very creatures you’re trying to protect. Embracing more natural methods of pest control supports a healthier ecosystem.

Smart Move: Incorporate plants like lavender or basil, which naturally deter pests, keeping your garden organic and safe for visiting wildlife.

5. Include Bird and Bat Houses: Birds and bats are not only fascinating to watch but are also vital for controlling pests and pollinating plants.

Smart Move: Install species-specific houses to provide safe roosting spots and observe the beneficial roles these creatures play in your garden.

By taking these steps, you not only create a stunning and lively garden but also contribute to conservation efforts right at home. A wildlife-friendly garden offers a sanctuary for various species and serves as a daily reminder of the beauty and resilience of nature. So get outside and have some fun in your garden!

By, Lucy Chatman

Staff Writer for HealthyHOME Media

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