When you plant a garden you are putting food out for the pests. They will take residence in your leafy greens, nibble on your young shoots and lay eggs on the underside of everything else. These are the 'bad' bugs.
One way - and there are many ways - of dealing with these bad bugs is to invite the 'good' bugs to live at your place. Ladybeetles, hoverflies, lacewings and tiny wasps can control aphids, scale, red spider mite, caterpillar and other pests without the use of chemicals. You can plant to attract these good critters - red clover, lucerne, cosmos, sweet alice, dill, caraway, coriander, buckwheat, baby’s breath, Queenanne’s Lace and marigolds will capture their interest - but if you really want them to stick around, have you considered where they might take residence around your backyard?
Insect habitat is in decline - climate change, loss of natural habitat, and pesticide use have all played their part. But with some basic skills and some offcuts or remnants, you can make a difference right in your own garden. The scope of what you build is limited only by your imagination! Some of the ones I'm loving are these eco-friendly homes and this inspired textile-based urban ladybird kit.
Start with something small and simple - some drilled holes of various sizes in a fallen log of wood will house the solitary bees, painting it red will attract the ladybeetles, and some recycled cans filled with sticks and dead leaves are safe places for the smallest critters to hide and reside.
This is a wonderful weekend project. Will you make one too?