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Welcome Garden Critters!

May 3, 2017

Welcoming Critters into Your Garden

While there are many pests that are not welcomed in our gardens, there are some that are not only safe to have around, but beneficial as well. In order to keep these critters around, you’ll have to be mindful of your little garden guests.

Insects like butterflies and ladybugs are known for adding to the overall visual appeal of your garden, but they do a lot more than that. Some of these critters are also known to pollinate flowers and crops. Others have been shown to improve the soil in gardens. Having trouble with pests devouring your crops? Certain garden guests are natural predators of the peskiest of garden pests like aphids, snails, and slugs.

Want to attract the right bugs to your garden? Consider these Mindful Gardening tips:

  1. Butterflies. While caterpillars are known to take bites out of gardens, butterflies pollinate crops and flowers as they eat nectar. To attract these beautiful creatures, the general rule is to plant vivid-colored, native flowers. Consider butterfly bushes, zinnias, and black-eyed Susans. Skip the pesticides and consider placing flat stones in your garden as a place for the butterflies to rest.
  2. Dragonflies. Have far too many moths and flies in your garden? Had enough of the mosquitoes in your yard? Dragonflies, their natural predators, may be the solution. To attract dragonflies to your garden consider creating a garden pond, which is critical to their survival. You’ll need perching sticks in the water for them to rest and vegetation like buttonbush and seedbox.
  3. Earthworms. Could your garden do with a boost? Consider earthworms. They break up hard soil, which lets plant roots spread out. They help keep soil moist and are a must for organic gardening. Attract more of them to your garden with organic matter like “decaying leaves, manure piles, and rotten logs.”
  4. Fireflies. Are snails and slugs eating you garden? Fireflies, specifically firefly larvae, may be the solution. While these little creatures are beautiful to watch, their population is in decline unfortunately. Attract them to your garden with water features and rotten logs. Also be wary of light pollution.
  5. Ladybugs. Aphids and mites can destroy a garden; fortunately, their natural predators are the beautiful ladybugs. To attract these insects consider planting cilantro, dill, marigolds or geraniums. Also consider getting a ladybug house.

For more Mindful tips check out this article on attracting good bugs to your garden.

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