Building soil fertility is key to soil and plant health and helps to sequester carbon in the soil. It also enhances all the soil, improving levels of beneficial soil fungi and worms. How to do this:
- Mulch borders and beds with peat free compost. The soil is a web of life in its own right and needs to be nurtured and looked after. This will also help to retain soil structure, moisture and sequester carbon.
- Rake leaves onto beds rather than remove them. This gives cover for insects and helps build soil health. If you have a mower, mow the leaves before putting them on plant borders/beds as this accelerates the decomposition process.
- Create a compost heap
This can be small or large and decomposition can be accelerated by using an activator like manure or comfrey – a pretty plant to grow near the compost area. Also recommend adding Symphytum ’Bocking14’ to compost as this is not invasive and can be cut 3 times a year. If allowed to flower the pendulous bell flowers are loved by bees. View the Eden Projects tips for creating a compost heap.
- Ideally cover soil with plants like fenugreek or fave beans or lupins. These can be mulched in border/beds/vegetable areas in early spring before flowering and they will improve soil structure. Leaving soils bare will depreciate soil carbon. If you have created a recent border/beds you will inevitably have gaps between new plants you can fill these with seed of hardy annuals or green manures like Phacelia tanacetifolia that has beautiful filigree foliage and frothy blue flowers incredibly attractive to pollinators if allowed to flower. This gives you further interest in your garden in flower whilst the perennial shrubs and herbaceous plants are establishing.
- Consider growing some vegetables in your garden and or grow some top fruit like apples, pear, plums, damsons, and greengages etc.
These can be grown as espalier or fan/espalier trained fruit on vertical elements like fences and walls. These are all good for pollinators and the management of the rest of your garden will determine the degree of pollinators like bees that there are around and the productivity of your fruit.
Growing your own vegetables and fruits produces food of higher nutrition and you know how its been grown. It’s a great feeling to grow some of your own food. Tips on growing your own organic food can be found here,
- Please consider a pond however small.
It is important that at least one side of the pond is gradual sloping so creatures can gain easier access to drink and also get out again should they swim like frogs/toads, hedgehogs etc.
- Please leave or create a hole at the bottom of your boundary fencing on all sides as this enables hedgehogs to easily migrate through gardens and helps to reduce hedgehog roadkill.