Please note that many of these articles were originally written for the old GB Wildlife site in between 2008 – 2010 and organisations may have changed since then.
Eco-Living – Organic Gardening
Over three quarters of us are committed to organic gardening. Recent research by the Royal Horticultural Society found that 75 percent of gardeners between 15 and 34 refuse to use any pesticides on their garden. This adherence to chemical-free gardening methods creates not only a haven for wildlife, but for gardeners too. They can appreciate an outside space humming with insects and prolific with home-grown produce.
In the UK, our 15 million gardens cover about 270,000 hectares, a huge area that can play an important part in wildlife conservation at a time when habitat loss and climate change are a real threat to biodiversity. You can encourage wildlife by creating the right conditions in your garden with a few easy steps.
How to create an eco-friendly garden
• Compost as much kitchen waste as possible. A wormery will take cooked food as well as kitchen scraps, cardboard and other waste. This nutrient rich substance can then be used all over your garden to improve soil conditions.
• Leave piles of wood for hibernating creatures.
• Plant a tree or two. If you have the space, introduce some of the UK’s ancient apple varieties. They will yield fruit for the family and neighbours and will support a large number of insects, in turn providing food for birds and animals.
• Choose hedges rather than fences. Berry producing shrubs provide food for the birds in the winter as well as a home for a myriad of other creatures.
• If you have the space, plant a wildflower meadow. Not only is our native meadowland beautiful but it also encourages butterflies, bees and other insects.
• Create a pond. An old sink will do, submerged and planted up with native water plants, ideally without fish. Sit back and wait for the aquatic creatures to move in (see the gbwildlife ‘How to’ for suggestions on how to do this.)
• Leave seed heads to provide food for birds and other creatures during the winter months.
For more information on encouraging wildlife in your garden through eco-friendly practises, please be sure to read our Gardening for Wildlife section where David Beeson gives us a month by month guide on his own garden along with a great many hints, tips and suggestions.
Melissa Corkhill editor of The Green Parent magazine and author of two books on green living will be writing monthly articles for GBWildlife.co.uk She lives in rural Sussex surrounded by woodland and wildlife and is passionate about environmental issues.
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