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Creating Habitats

May 24th, 2016

There are many ways we can create small habitats in our garden, this is especially important if we have a problem with a particular pest. If we are overrun by aphids, creating habitats for ladybugs and other predatory insects that eat aphids is important. If we have tons of slugs, putting in a pond to create a habitat for toads is the ideal way to deal with that problem (a pair of ducks is also a great way).
two_toads_in_small_pond
cardboard to smother weeds
One of the things I do in the garden to create small habitats is laying down boards and sheets of cardboard. I use cardboard as a smothering mulch, anywhere I want to kill weeds or grass. One of the main reasons I use cardboard is because it creates a habitat for snakes and salamanders. Every time I lift up a piece I find tiny snakes, earthworm eggs, salamanders, slugs, and a wide variety of other insects.
Little Snake
I much prefer using cardboard to using chemicals and other weed killing methods. It takes more patience, as most of the time you’ll need to have the cardboard in place for a season or two to fully kill the weeds, especially tenacious perennial weeds. I’m happy to wait patiently and let nature utilize this small habitat to improve the diversity in my garden.

What small habitats have you created in your garden?

5 Comments to “Creating Habitats”
  1. Kyle on May 24, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I inherited an acre that was largely lawn. I started letting half of it go last year and, lo and behold, I now have garter snakes. And my slug count is way down. They are still there, but not rampant like they have been in the past. I’ll definitely be leaving areas of tall grass and continuing to pile up some rocks for the snakes. Now, no longer having free range chickens probably also has something to do with this…the girls would have eaten any small snakes for lunch.

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  2. Sara on May 24, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Our new(ish) native garden has become such a draw for wildlife, but really any and everything can turn into habitat of sorts around here. A pile of brush left for a few days becomes a sparrow hangout, any garden support has a robin on it, rabbits are nesting in the raspberry patch. I love it–except maybe for the chipmunk warrens built into our retaining wall! We have a lot of toads but no snakes for some reason :)

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  3. Javi Gil on May 24, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I started doing the same thing this year on my raised beds. I cleaned everything and placed cardboard and tarps on top of the flower beds. My neighbors thought I was crazy, but I don’t have to clean the beds anymore since all the weed seed is now dead, and I have a clean bed t plant my veggies.

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  4. Kathie on May 24, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    I cannot wait until we have a proper garden again! There is nothing like putting your hands in the dirt… Snakes, though! I have a phobia and Virginia is chockablock full of both poisonous and friendly species. Does anyone have advise for this gal? I need to overcome my aversion so that I can garden happily.

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  5. Nebraska Dave on May 25, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Susie, Snakes? I’m with Kathie, I hate snakes. They’re just to creepy and silent. When you least expect it, there they are. They used to hang out under the carpet that I laid down for weed suppression but I think they moved on into the surrounding wild areas to the north of my garden. I have learned tolerate them but still don’t like them much. I don’t have to do much to bring the wild into my garden. I’m surrounded by wild untamed land with trees, natural springs, and untamed vegetation. Last year 1/4 of my garden went wild again. I just didn’t have time to keep it under management. This year I covered it with carpet but still won’t be able to work on any thing in that area. The weather is into a wet cycle here which really curtails gardening at the prime planting time. I did get a few things planted but I just don’t like planting in the mud. I hope the sweet corn I planted yesterday doesn’t rot in the ground. I really need to get the pumpkins, tomatoes, and green peppers in the ground soon. They are out growing the 16oz plastic cups.

    Have a great day creating habitats in your garden.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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