Turn Your Back Yard into a Wildlife Habitat
How can you create an organic eco-friendly garden that attracts birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects? All the elements in your yard or garden depend on each other to create a perfect balance of nature. Remember to grow plants that suit your local conditions, and to stay away from any chemicals. As a gardener, you have the ability to create harmony rather than disturb the balance of nature. Here are some products and ideas to get you started.
Electronic Soil Tester
Good soil is the foundation of a flourishing garden. Deeper soil holds more water, which means each plant has enough water for health and resistance to pests and disease. Add organic matter (compost) such as grass clippings, decaying plants, fall leaves, vegetable scraps. This provides food and habitat for beneficial insects and microorganisms. The proper pH level, 6.5, is also critical for controlling pests and plant diseases. Test soil frequently with the Electric Garden Soil Testing Kit and correct the soil pH if needed. Available at www.cleanairgardening.com.
Lawn Aerator Shoes
Lawn aerating shoes revitalize hard compacted soils. Aerating the soil allows air, water and nutrients to reach the root system for a healthier lawn. The spikes on the shoes open up the soil and expose the roots to the air they need. Wear them while you mow! Available at www.cleanairgardening.com.
Country Pump and Barrel Fountain Kit
The wildlife in your organic garden needs clean water. A healthy pond offers an aquatic ecosystem, so add fish, plants, and frogs. (Include snails to reduce any algae in the water.) The Country Pump and Barrel Fountain Kit is an inexpensive way to create a small pond for your garden. It has a country-style water pump that creates a stream of water into the cedar barrel. Available at www.pondappeal.com.
58-Gallon Rain Barrel
Collecting rainwater allows you to conserve tap water yet still have plenty of hydration available for your garden. Watering longer and less frequently encourages deep rooting of plants. This plastic rain barrel is recycled, so you'll be helping the global environment while beautifying your garden. Available at www.cleanairgardening.com.
Classic Cypress Bird House/ Nesting House
Inspire birds to flock to your garden. This nesting box offers a safe place for birds to raise their young. The bird house is made of chemical-free untreated wood. Create a natural balance -- instead of using pesticides, offer birds the opportunity to take care of any pests. (Chickadees devour insects and English sparrows love to dine on mosquitoes.) Available at www.cleanairgardening.com.
Copper Hanging/Standing Bird Bath
Don't forget the water! Besides shelter and food, birds will need a beautiful bird bath for water. This copper bird bath can either hang or rest on its stand. The basin is 2 inches deep. Available at www.backyardstyle.com.
White Flower Farm Flowers and Shrubs
Buy the plants that your birds need to feast on and be healthy, such as:
- purple coneflower
- bachelor buttons
- black currants
- elderberry or
- blackberry bushes.
White Flower Farm is a family-owned business in Connecticut and will ship anywhere in the country. Attract butterflies to your garden with these plants: honeysuckle vines, bleeding hearts, columbine, yarrow, asters, sweet pea, coneflower, andchrysanthemum, Shasta daisy, violets, bee balm, lilac, English lavender. Available at www.whiteflowerfarm.com.
Instead of using harsh insecticides that destroy the delicate balance of your garden ecosystem, allow lacewing insects to do the pest control for you. Lacewings eat hundreds of bugs and their eggs. Their favorites are aphids, mites, mealybugs, scale insects and some moths and caterpillars, moth eggs, and whiteflies. In return for their good work, grow the kinds of plants that the good insects find attractive, such as yarrow, Queen Anne's lace, and marigolds. Available at: www.arbico-organics.com.
Why not provide a lovely home for your ladybugs? The ladybug loft is the perfect location where ladybugs can spy on the insects and swoop down on them. Ladybugs will do you the favor of keeping aphids and other insects from disrupting your garden. This is another natural, chemical-free way to maintain your garden in balance. You can also purchase the ladybug loft complete with ladybugs. Available at www.cleanairgardening.com.
For more eco-friendly gardening tips and tricks, consult an experienced landscaper in your area.