The good cops and the bad cops of the spring garden
Spring is my favourite season. When nature wakes up and the sun is shining, birds are singing I just find myself standing outside with my cup of coffee and just breath that air in and smile. Probably looking rather like a loony from the road, but who cares.
But for the gardener it`s a call for wellies on, and time to get the garden ready for the seedlings. Since February all my windowsills are fully packed, even my table, as the seeds need warm place to germinate. The cold frames are also full outside.
But see, I am a busy mama of 3 kids who is also working and last autumn I was concentrating on fermenting some big ass amount of veg in and after I picked them all up I just left the raised beds and did not take care of them as a clever gardener would have. Now I am paying the price . Weeds just love it here. Great.
Today was an amazing gardening weather and I started to weed the beds. These amazing plants (yes, I am sarcastic about these weeds) have some crazy deep and strong roots, so I literally had to dig them all up. Like full on body weight up. Yey!
And this is where I found many amazing creatures. Some are useful, some are the opposite.
We do grow naturally, using absolutely no chemicals in the process. I read it somewhere that a good garden needs to be part of the eco system. This means ladies and gentlemen bugs, insects, frogs birds, worms etc.
The kids are always very keen in helping. Usually it only lasts a few minutes but today I got them entertained for many hours. When I was turning the soil and picking out the weeds, we also found the good guys and the bad ones and they helped me identify them.
The good guys were for example the worms, earthworms to be exact.
They are super useful and we have millions of them in our garden. They help to maintain healthy garden soils. They eat decaying plants and do not damage growing plants. Wow….how clever. They are very important to soil structure and fertility. They are the ones that help you to break down your compost and turn them into rich humus. So guess what we did when we found one?….yeah…left them in there, sent hugs and kisses and thanked them for their great job.
This brings me to the second most frequently found creature of the day. The leatherjackets. Baaad boys indeed. These are the larvae of daddy-longlegs otherwise known as crane flies. They particularly like wet soil so our climate here is heaven for them, not to mention a natural garden.
They live underground for about 9 months and supposedly eating mostly lawn roots. I am not saying I want them in my lawn but these bandits did not read the textbooks and they are more than happy to eat the roots of any of my vegetables or fruits.
Yes, when we found them, the kids took turns and took them to the chickens.
I do not particularly enjoy killing any bugs, and when even a spider gets in the house I let my husband be the hero and catch it and bring it outside.
Leatherjackets, I am sorry, but if I have to choose between my vegetables or these pests…well….they are amazing treats for my chickens. Maybe it is news for some, but chickens are not vegetarian and oh boy they fight over these or the slugs.
Slugs! SLUUUUGS! The number one enemy of last year`s veg garden. Those hooligans didn`t read the books either. Last year I collected egg shells, washed them, dried them, ground them up….I was doing it a lot ….like had a full bucket of it. Apparently, slugs do not go through them, so I covered all the raised beds with them, but nay. These are too hardy here. Simply did not care and went for all my plants like there`s no tomorrow. So they are on the naughty list.
This of course made us think of the natural way to get rid of them. So, we dug out a pond, okay if I am honest my husband dug it but I did the cheering. Indeed. Since last year I am a proud owner of a pond in the hope of keeping frogs. In theory when you create a natural habitat, naturally the living creatures like frogs will find them. I sent out invitations, shouted ribbit in the pouring rain….nothing happened. I even looked at frog starting kits online…..as surprisingly you can purchase such a thing. BUT! Big but!
Who has the coolest neighbours? Me! Me! Me!
A few weeks ago they have gifted me with a big bucket of frog spawns. These eggs hatched and now there are many tadpoles swimming in my little pond. So I am hopeful. I can not wait until they turn into frogs and they go hungry….like really, really hungry and eat lots of slugs. Hahahaha. This was an evil laugh. Sorry slugs. This girl is no quitter and there is a serious overpopulation going on here.
And this brings us to the end of this session.
Thank you for attending the first Green Fingers Family biology lesson.
If you are holding knowledge of a great secret how to outnumber these bad guys naturally, don`t be scared to share please.
Now go and plant something.