Go Organic: Untidiness repays helpful garden visitorsBy James Ashford
October 08, 2010
Autumn is well and truly with us now. The leaves are turning and the morning mists are back.
It is a lovely time of year if you are able get out for a stroll in the woods and parks around Reading but not so pretty in the garden.
As the annuals go over and the perennials die back there is a real temptation to have a big clear out and tidy up of the beds and borders. While a bit a maintenance is usually a good thing it is important not to be too ruthless in the pursuit of perfection.
When it comes to being untidy I’m something of a natural. Indeed Mrs Go Organic often compliments me on the matter. Only last week she told me I must be ‘the scruffiest man in England’ – high praise indeed.
But it is not simply natural idleness that keeps me this way. A bit of untidyness is a good thing in any organic system.
The garden should provide a winter refuge for all the bugs and beasties which help to keep the ecology in balance.
The hollow stems of dried-out perennials will give shelter to lacewing ladybirds who will repay your kindness in the spring by eating aphids. Any left over seed heads will provide a bit of extra food for overwintering birds.
A small heap of loose compost in a quiet corner of the garden will give refuge to beetles and centipedes.
Leave a small stack of logs tucked away at the bottom of a hedge and you may be lucky enough to attract a hedgehog into your garden. As well as providing some nocturnal entertainment these charming creatures will also munch their way through slugs and snails by the score.
You can also provide winter accommodation for solitary bees on your plot. You can buy purpose-built nests for Mason bees or you can drill some holes in a block of wood and let them make their own.
Encourage these excellent pollinators to take up residence and you will reap the benefits when your vegetable plants are in full flower.