The past 5 years, I have been replacing many of the “non-native” plants with “native” perennials on our city lot. I am trying to create a more natural landscape that invites + provide for local wildlife. For example, in my Modern Day Kitchen Garden/Urban Potager, I rotate crops throughout the season between garden beds or through succession planting to keep our soil healthy. Often I use non-native annual herbs or flowers to provide extra food for bees, butterflies and birds to enjoy. To me Biodiversity is learning to “balance” which native plants/non-native plants work best in your growing area to provide for nature while growing food. It is a constant “discovery” from season to season. Each growing area is unique, so what I find works best for me, may not work best for you. The key is to start experimenting + the best place to begin, is right where you live!
To me Biodiversity is learning to balance what nature needs to help us all live a healthy + productive life.The Quad Cities is an urban area, but over the years some of the wildlife is invading deeper into our city life. I don’t remember growing up and seeing coyotes or deer running through our suburban areas.I lived up near Chicago as a child + we never had coyotes running through our yards jumping fences. The deer population in our cities is becoming larger, and the coyotes are coming into our cities to hunt the deer and find food. I do not fault the wildlife for coming into our urban areas to search for food since we are taking up more of their fields to live and roam. As we learn about creating more natural landscapes + growing more edible foods on our city lots, we need to work with the local wildlife and native pollinators.
Permaculture + Food Forest are great approaches to providing food in our cities, but when some edible perennials have the potential to escape and become invasive to our woodlands, I cannot support those plants. I am very careful what I incorporate into my Modern Day Kitchen Garden/Urban Potager. If I discover a new edible perennial or annual food plant, I research it extensively to make sure it has NO potential to become invasive to local forests if it escapes my yard.I do not have much space, so growing and experimenting with a variety of plants is a yearly project. I am continually adding, removing and exploring the potential of what “can be” useful in our small space for ourselves and nature.
I shared a blog post by Kathy from The Violet Fern about Douglas Tallamy, and how she attended a lecture he was giving near where she lived here. The reason I am bringing up her blog post is he wrote the article I was reading, on Backyard Biodiversity!
” A Call for Backyard Biodiversity”
You have probably never thought of your property as a wildlife preserve representing the last chance we have to sustain plants and animals that were once common throughout the US. But that is exactly the role our suburban and urban landscapes are now playing – and will play even more in the near future.If this is news to you, it’s not your fault. We were taught from childhood that the plantings in our yards are made mostly for beauty; they allow and encourage us to express our artistic talents, to have fun, and to relax. And whether we like it or not, the way we landscape our properties is seen by our neighbors as a statement of our wealth and social status.But no one has taught us that we have forced the plants and animals that evolved in North America (our nation’s biodiversity) to depend more and more on human-dominated landscapes for their continued existence. We have always thought that biodiversity was “happy somewhere out there in nature”: in our local wood lot, or perhaps our state and national parks. We have heard nothing about the rate at which species are disappearing from our neighborhoods, towns, counties, and states. Even worse, we have never been taught how vital biodiversity is for our own well-being.( read more here)
If you read my blog, you know how much I detest the obsession of “lawns” and how we spray too many chemicals on the blanket of green that runs for miles throughout our cities. Grass can be a part of our landscape( if you like it), but when it makes up 90 percent of each city lot, where do our bees, butterflies, birds, and other creatures live? How do they eat + raise their families?