Sharing a kitchen garden with wildlife | Urban Homestead Life

Sharing your garden with wildlife can be a challenge at the best of times, sharing your kitchen garden with wildlife can sometimes be a nightmare. I've heard many stories from other gardeners and homesteaders of losing all their crops to wildlife, deer, birds, badgers, foxes, rabbits, any critters that can get access to the scrummy goodies growing. 

Unfortunately that is life and it is all part of gardening and growing your own food. There are some who take extreme steps to stop wildlife from eating their crops. Using various pesticides, nets, mesh, gates, fences and other items to keep wildlife away. In my little garden and allotment I try to work together with nature and wildlife as much as possible. 

We welcome birds in the garden and on the allotment, I have feeders and a hanging water dish for them. I know some don't like the birds to visit where they grow food because they have a habit of eating it and disturbing seedlings. I love birds though and enjoy watching them so I actually encourage them to visit. I avoid using netting as much as possible as I hate the thought of birds getting stuck in it. I do use a tight knit mesh (tiny holes not big enough for a bird to go through) almost like a fleece, over some of my tiny seedlings when I first put them in. I tend to avoid any type of net with larger holes incase birds get stuck. I know that I lose quite a few berries and currants to the birds but I don't mind sharing. 

I even shared my shed with a nesting Robin this year. She was very trusting and barely moved when I would pop in to get equipment. I think she knew I was no harm to her. I left out seed, berries and any bugs I found on a dish for her and any other birdies in the area. 

When it comes to slugs and snails I do have to admit I dislike them, a lot. I wouldn't mind if they stuck to eating the weeds or the compost area but they tend to eat my newly planted seedlings, my lovely flowers and my lettuce. Where possible I pick them up and relocate them to the compost heap. I've in previous years used organic pellets but they didn't work at all. I don't really like the idea of killing them either, I just want them to move on. I do sometimes leave a dish of them on the top of the wall because I know the birds like to eat them. I know that means they are being killed but they are feeding the birds so it is all part of the circle of life. 

I've not had much experience with any other wildlife in my garden, because it is enclosed and in a built up area of town, a main high street. I also don't see much on the allotment plot as it is next to a newbuild site of houses and there are always lots of people about on their plots which I assume scares most wildlife away. I do sometimes see a family of rabbits in the hedges which is rather sweet. 

As an urban homesteader I guess I'm quite lucky in some sense that I don't have to share my kitchen garden with much wildlife, I can imagine in a rural environment it is much more challenging. I hope one day I will have the chance to find out! 


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