5 Friendly Forrest Fellas

Following plant life, animals in a permaculture garden are necessary for the ecosystem to flourish. They keep pests in check, pollinate flowers, fertilize your garden for you, and in some cases be eaten. Always encourage biodiversity in your area by creating plenty of diverse habitats. The closer your garden resembles the edge of two or more ecosystems, the more biodiversity will occur. For a healthy ecosystem in your backyard, consider these animals and their needs to encourage a neighborly relationship:

5. Snakes
Okay I get it, you don’t like them. They might creep you out, but unless you live in a tropical climate, it is unlikely that any venomous snakes live in your area. In any case, leave them alone and they will likely slither away as soon as they notice you approaching. Let’s be honest, snakes are more scared of you than you are of them. They’ll eat chipmunks, mice, large insects, or any variety of garden pests that might get to your food before you do. In most cases, they notice you before you notice them, and the same holds true for their prey. A woodpile or rock wall creates the perfect hiding places to attract our slithering serpentine friends. Another advantage of rock walls is they provide warmth, as they are cold blooded and are therefore more active with warmer temperatures.

4. Chickens
Truth be told, I just really love chicken. Wings, breast, legs, I’ll eat it all. Problem is farm style chicken chop shops provide way too many opportunities for food born illness to creep into my food, and it seems ethically iffy at best. Instead, it might be a good idea to let your chicken out of the coop during the day, stretch their legs, forage for some tasty insects to eat, and help fertilize your garden. Chicken manure is a common organic fertilizer, so why not let them fertilize your garden for you? They’ll munch on pesky slugs and caterpillars while fertilizing the plants while they’re at it. Pest control, fertilizer, and tasty on the grill, and when healthy will keep you supplied with eggs, a couple chickens fair well in a permaculture garden. Ironically enough, they might even hunt, kill and eat some of the smaller snakes in your garden, keeping the population in check. As always, balance is the key in permaculture, so always attempt to keep only as many animals as you can adequately feed.

3. Wild Birds
They can be both a bother and a life saver, depending on the species. Some may even be both. Allowing a large variety of species to flourish in the garden keeps local insect and vermin populations in check while assisting in spreading seeds. Unfortunately, the latter means a loss in yield, so passive deterrents such as a netting around berries can sometimes become necessary. Birds also come in a variety of colors and add sound to your landscape, so keep that in mind when attempting to attract certain species. Birds of prey, such as eagles, hawks, owls and ospreys often find shelter in tall trees, but some species (mainly eagles and hawks) are so large that they have been known to attack small deer, so keep any livestock sheltered. Many will happily swoop down and take out some small mammals or other birds as they come out of hiding both night and day. Allowing for adequate roosts will ensure birds of all sorts will fly by for a visit. Bluebirds, sparrows, nighthawks, phoebes, and many smaller species will attack on caterpillars, grasshoppers, moths or other insects that would otherwise wreak havoc on plants in your garden. Keeping bushy, low lying plants will keep these fly-by-day insect eradicators as useful neighbors and give them shelter.

2. Lady Bugs
Besides being attractive to look at and universally revered as lucky, ladybugs are inept at keeping nuisance aphid populations at a minimal level. Though deterrents may be used, aphids will inevitably find their way into your garden. Fortunately, there are ways to invite our ladybug friends over for dinner. Keeping a warm area for the ladybugs to stay during cold nights has been known to create infestations of the tiny beetles. It has been noted that ladybugs are attracted to the color white, especially by small flowers such as cilantro or overwintered carrots. If suddenly one day you see thousands of ladybugs congregated in a windowsill, leave them alone. They do no structural damage and are only resting. Not to mention it is extremely good luck and they will leave as soon as it is warm enough.

1. Bees/Butterflies
This is the point where the list turns from helpful to necessary. Both butterflies and bees pollinate flowers (along with male mosquitoes andforrest fellas some fly species, but who wants those?) and are attracted to bright colors. Keeping flowers nearby fruiting vegetables will serve as a beacon for these insects to frequent. Without these species present, many plants including cucumbers, squash, broccoli, cauliflower amongst many others will never produce fruit. It is a complex and deep symbiosis between flowers and insects and should be celebrated in the garden. Artificial pollination is often still possible, but these insects will always do a better job. Less work for you, more color, and interesting animal movement in the garden is always a plus. For those with enough space and resources, beekeeping can be a great hobby and the honey contains antibiotics that help combat seasonal allergies (as long as it is locally produced).

All in all, proper animal identification and encouraging a vibrant, biologically diverse ecosystem will help increase overall yield in a permaculture garden. Without them, many necessary processes would not occur and pests would overrun the garden. Before resorting to expensive and costly (environmentally and financially) control methods, consider having some other species over for lunch. A well balanced ecosystem and permaculture design will allow minimum effort to result in maximum yields for as long as the ecosystem stands. As with anything, observe, plan, design and build according to the resources available in your area.

64 comments
Anita

I believe the word you mean in referring to ladybugs and their control of aphids is adept not inept. Inept means unable or poorly qualified to do something while adept is the skilled and highly qualified to do something.

Encourage snakes, huh! Don’t I have enough already?

” unless you live in a tropical climate, it is unlikely that any venomous snakes live in your area. ” Hmm, I guess I did not realize Texas and the rest of the Southern United States were tropical. We have water moccasins, rattlesnakes, copperheads, and coral snakes. Even in town.

my little friends the beatles

good one ~~~

They are poor methods of control…IMHO, but the scale they are used on may make a difference….I can’t see puttin a hundred dollars worth out evry day…which is how many I would require…at least!

I have some on a river and this is my dream.

I have a large cricket kind of insect (about an inch long) in my house this winter.

Our own bodies are models of biodiversity. =D http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_microbiome

The term “permaculture” implies to me a more completely biodiverse environment, which naturally includes critters.

absolutely no systemics

Using no-till and mulch for our entire new landscape, raised beds for veggies, planting lots of native plants and things that attract pollinators. Providing a small fountain to provide water for insects and birds.

I use lady bugs

Naturalized 100%…ashes from the wood stove, chicken and horse manure to fertilize, compost to enrich areas…..

planting plants to attract bee’s and butterfly’s,I am composting.I have ladybugs every year.I do not use any chemicals. 🙂

Praying mantises!

I love ladybugs and praying mantises!

Chickens and compost.

Giving monarchs a few milkweeds.

Mike have you started.

I want to put in a bee hive

Abigail Cathleen Slattery, look up masonry bees. They are incredibly simple to attract and bring into your garden, and moat town idiots, (read government officials) have no clue what it is.

And I had all kinds of little critters in my garden this year, with almost no loss to the plants due to bugs… HOWEVER, trying to keep out the squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits… That’s the tricky part!

The perfect example of intelligent design. Permaculture has “Creator” written all over it. Perfect balance is what is required for a plants survival from the beginning. The further science goes the more we see in nature a hand that is pointing to a Genius far beyond our comprehension. Scripture is more relevant now than at any time in history. What an awesome God we serve. Beautiful post. Thanks.

See Romans 1:20
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+1:20&version=NIV

An organic garden and 3 bee hives

I love lady bug, each and every year, I buy tube filled with lady bugs (from 100 to 500 in each tube depending on price).

I am not going out there much right now. Too bloody cold.

If you mulch, you remove the bare earth that the little solitary native bees need for their burrows, and who may end up as our only pollinators if the introduced honeybees die. So we do NOT mulch.

We try to leave as much wild as possible and I hand water the gorgeous introduced Araneus Diadematus, who are so sweet and who change color. They get very thirsty so I spray their webs with distilled water. But also feed water from my finger to interact. I touch a hand with water on my finger and they grab and drink. I keep squirting water on my arm to drip down to my finger. They are so gentle and I love the feel of their little mouths.

I do not mulch, I do compost, I do plant, I do not spray. I do add lady bugs, mantiss, and tree frogs, and provide them good environments to stay and procreate. I also encourage bees and butterflies, with flowering plants and I feed birds.

We use no pesticides. We have so many butterfly’s Dragonflies lizards hummingbirds. Bees Doves you name it. It only takes sitting outside alittle time to see one of these pass bye. A healthy ecosystem back and front

Wildflower areas, no invasive or non-native plants. Leaving seed heads over winter for the birds and bunnies. Toad homes. Homemade suet for the birds. Left a ‘grain grass’ area for the deer and turkeys. Leaving snags for nesting woodpeckers and owls. Maintaining a ‘green way’ so they have access to the river undisturbed. And generally treating the outdoors with respect, calm, and quiet.

I grow native species and mulch my leaves and veggie garbage for compost. I also use a mulching mower.

I have used both praying mantis an lady bugs and not together lol on inside grows and ladybugs for greenhouse best insecticide going and if you want honey bees plant papaver somniferum

I am letting large areas of my backyard return to nature. I mulch with leaves, feed the birds naturally and natively. I am lucky enough to have deer in the backyard regularly and take great pride in having fawns born in our secretive fern garden over the past two springs. I also take great pride in having salamanders living in the yard. A sure sign of a healthy environment. Plants are left to go to seed. Dead trees are left in place, an open compost/brush pile is there for the smaller critters.

Once again keeping our chemical free garden. Building bat boxes, getting lady bugs, planting lots of pollinater friendly flowers.

No chemicals (which is quite difficult when I have neighbors on either side of me that use every chemical under the sun – thank God I have fencing). Planted pollinator friendly perennials/annuals, organic remediation of my soil, use leaves for mulch (this drives my worst chemical offending neighbor nuts! LOL). I live in the city, and when we first moved here there were absolutely no bees! After 2 years they were back in my yard and now I have lots! Hoping to build a natural bee hive this year.

no chemicals, digging out sod which goes grass side down in the compost pile, areas dug are planted with perennials, 2 20foot long raspberry rows, 9 blueberry bushes, bee, butterfly friendly perinneals, drought tolerant plants….can’t wait to use my composted material in boxes for veggies this year!!! also, compost veggie scraps from kitchen and coffee grounds! I want to learn to do more so I’m using water appropriately!

gots lots of them last year

Love this but HATE the typo! ) – :

Not using Roundup weed killer

No pesticides, no herbicides. Results:lots of lizards and spiders, few bugs. Lots of weeds so I get plenty of exercise!

Butterfly, bee and hummingbird gardens.

Yep. No chemicals!

Frigs and tortoises here!

Ha ha FROGS!

Planted three types of clover for great ground cover and yummy for the bunnies!

i too do not use any weed killers. I wait to ‘weed; my rental until after the flowers had passed. my ocd old male neighbors hate it, but they have no native flowers nor plants in their yards. i took my pond pump out and got a frog the first year. I think i have to put it back in though with no frog the second year.

I planted sunflowers around my fence and garden. Birds and bees love them. I was going to harvest the seeds for birds, but they seemed to be just fine going from flower to flower themselves. VERY little upkeep. Also, I use NO pesticides, NO chemicals. I pick bugs off manually and use a garlic and water spray…and sprinkle cayenne pepper and garlic bulbs on ground in garden…NO pests, mammal or bug.

They forgot bats.

i promote butter fly weed, monarchs & ladies dig em

I am growing my Tower Garden.

Lady bugs are my favorite you can buy them online and praying mantis too. I move spiders from the house to outdoors when they visit. Spiders love to eat bad garden bugs. Peace

“Forest” not “forrest”, “fare” not “fair”, “adept” not “inept”. Broccoli and cauliflowers don’t produce fruit (at least not the way the author is intending), and as out-crossers require a larger gene pool for seed production than most backyard gardeners can accommodate, so pollination for these two is pretty much a moot point for the target audience. Honey does have antibiotic properties, but that has nothing to do with allergies. Just sayin’.

Please, no Asia ladybugs either. Native only!

We grow only plants that bloom every year . We never have to replace them. We do add to them.

If you have Leaf legged stink bugs make sure to prune back all fruiting Mulberries ( the first fruiting treee to fruit they love mulberries) – do it for 2 seasons – they have nothing to eat on! Another alternative to garlic juice is grapefruit juice especially for aphids & spider mites but garlic everywhere not only works great but a lovly garlicky flavour to the garden!

Garlic and water spray?!!! I have to try it!

Garlic spray works great, it’ll last 2 days, but if it rains, you got to get back out there.

We keep adding bee loving perennials, mowing less, adding in perennial food and medicinal crops for us. The increase in bees, butterflies, and fireflies is noticeable.
Need to put in more for the hummingbirds…

No sprays, flowers, perennials and let them be. There’s room for all of us.

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