Sharing the Garden with Wildlife
One of our Master Gardeners, who blogs over at Gaia Garden, has a really good post up reprising a talk she gave at our State Master Gardener Conference about Happily Sharing Your Garden with Wildlife. She shares her list of “morals” for gardening with wildlife. While you might argue that it’s a little different in an edible garden (or farm!) vs. an ornamental garden, these are still great principles to keep in mind.
Moral #1: Don’t be too quick to judge an unknown [such as an insect or an egg mass] as a problem. Take time to observe and learn.
When I found an egg mass like the one to the right one February morning, I was tempted to scrape it off the tree branch right away. I was convinced that any mass of eggs like this would be plant-eaters and therefore probably destructive in my yard or garden. Instead of doing that, though, I went back inside and searched on the web, trying to identify the eggs. I was able to do just that, and I learned that these are eggs from the wheel bug, an excellent insect predator. If I had destroyed the mass (and the others I found throughout the winter) I would have had many fewer predators in the yard…and many more pest insects.