Budding Gardeners - supporting school garden projects
Know Your Veg Simple Guide to Growing Fun Things To Do Stuck? Ask the Expert Dots
Recommended equipment
Perfect Habitat Bee Log  
Red Bee Bricks provide the perfect habitat for bees.

Bird Feeding Station to attract an array of birds.

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Why Attract Insects?
Many insects can help a gardener and these should be encouraged into the vegetable plot. Birds too like greenfly and insect grubs. Putting up nest boxes will quickly bring robins, sparrow, bluetits and thrushes into the area.

Ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies and bees are essential to the success of any crops.

Bees will pollinate flowering crops like peas, beans and herbs. This encourages more flowers and pods to emerge.

Ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies attack aphids which prey on crops like peas, beans, cabbages and lettuce. They need to eat massive quantities of the insects in order to survive.
How To Attract The Insects
All these insects can be easily attracted into the garden. Ladybird towers and insect homes can be erected around the plot. Allow some dead nettle to grow in small clumps. Non stinging, it houses an aphid which does not prey on other plants - but makes a good meal for ladybirds. This will encourage ladybirds to stay in the area and deal with other types of aphid as well.
  • A Bee log will encourage Mason bees which do not swarm and are not aggressive so are less likely to sting - but they will pollinate the vegetables and herbs.

  • If you have a damp corner, try encouraging toads to live in the area. They will enjoy meals of slugs, insects and lavae. Toads need shelter and dampness.

  • Grow a wide range of plants in the vegetable area. Companion planting is a traditional method of deterring pests. Growing onions and carrots together can distract the ability of the pests to find the vegetables. Celery, fennel, corn salad and tomatoes can also be grown in the same area giving protection to each other against predators.

  • Flowering plants should not be ignored. They are essential to encourage aphid predators. Bees feed on nectar and pollen and in so doing pollinate crops and flowers. Attract them by growing some plants which give a good, rich source of nectar.

  • Hoverflies love marigolds. Plant some in between vegetable crops. Remove the dead flowers as soon as they have finished flowering to encourage more flowers to appear. The hoverflies will be attracted to the marigolds - and will also enjoy a meal of neighbouring aphids!

  • Other good companion plants include herbs like dill, lavender, lemon balm, sage, marjoram, anthemis, love in a mist, cornflowers, poppies and nasturtiums. If you have no space in the vegetable plot itself, plant up a couple of containers with some flowering plants. Move these around as necessary.

  • At the end of the season collect seed for sowing next year. Seed should only be collected from the best, disease free plants. Allow the seed to dry naturally on the plant before collecting it. Keep it dry and in sealed containers and it will survive well.

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