As many of you already know; I dabble in the garden a lot, some would call me a green thumb but I’m pretty sure it’s spread to the rest of my hands too. I’ve been experimenting with different ways in which I can utilise water within my garden, from creating my own garden decorations to ensuring that the garden is irrigated efficiently during the driest months. However, I’ve recently taken things a step further; I’ve decided that I’m going to begin my own vegetable patch! The first step is to create a safe environment for any crops that I’ll be growing in the future.
Protecting your Produce
One of the first decisions that I had to make when thinking about the creation of my vegetable patch is whether or not I wanted to protect my crops through pesticides, perseverance or natural predators.
I quickly decided that the only way forward for me was to make my garden friendlier and also safer for natural predators of slugs and snails. By encouraging natural predators to make themselves at home within my garden I aim to protect my plants from slugs, snails and any insects that may wish to feast on my fruits and vegetables.
Making Garden Improvements to Aid Predators of Pests
If you have a pond it’s essential that you make this pond as friendly to frogs as possible. One method of doing this is to provide your frogs with a ramp or a number of stones in a corner of the pond so that they can exit the pond when they need to. You should also grow a number of plants in and around your pond to provide the frog’s spawn with shelter which will increase their chances of survival.
You could also encourage a variety of birds into your garden by providing them with shelter or nesting materials and a water supply such as a bird bath. Some of the best materials that you could provide in order to encourage birds into your garden include twigs, string, straw and dead grass.
We recommend that you do not supply the birds with food as this can encourage rats and will prevent them from picking off the slugs and snails within your garden.
Hedgehogs are one of the best natural predators that you can encourage into your garden as slugs and snails are the worst pests and are also a hedgehog’s main source of food. To encourage hedgehogs into your garden you will need to provide them with a supply of water and some shelter. This shelter can be as simple as a pile of leaves in the corner of your garden but hedgehogs can also make shelters in hedgerows, out of straw and in long grass.
However, it has been found that hedgehogs occasionally claim outdoor kennels as their own – so if you do not have a dog kennel you could use a pile of logs as a shelter for the hedgehogs. It’s essential that when you are creating the hedgehog shelter out of the logs that you ensure that the structure is safe by holding the structure together with screws; or you could attach the logs to a set of brackets to make the structure simpler and easier to create.
If you can encourage enough of these natural predators you should find that your vegetable patch is left alone as there aren’t enough common garden pests to trouble your garden. For more information on growing your own vegetable patch you can enquire at your local garden centre.
Author: Water Bucket Walter is a member of the team at UK Water Features; when Walter isn’t working he can often be found experimenting with different gardening techniques.