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October 29, 2016

The Insectary

By NutritionNo Comments

Ever heard of an insectary? They seem to be gaining in popularity as people relearn the importance of having a balance of beneficial insects in their gardens and vegetable plots.

It can be something relatively simple, like some old blocks of timber with holes drilled within for beneficial predatory insects to build their homes in…or it can be a little oasis like we’re working at here at Birdsong.

So everything thrives when there is balance. If you grow only one crop, you attract a lot of the same pests. And have no home for a lot of the most natural and effective predators for those pests.

If you spray your crops with insecticides, you’re also losing out by killing off both good and bad mini beasts. For example, the USA apparently has a “Pollination task Force” now and are trying to rehabilitate about 7 million acres of land to encourage bees…this is because their overuse of roundup has made most of the bees diet toxic. So the bees get sick, suffer more hive illnesses like AFB and die. Then who pollinates the crops?

The idea behind the pond and ‘oasis’ or ‘insectary’ at Birdsong is to provide a haven for insects, especially those that prey on pests. We’re wanting to feed the bees a great variety of nectar and pollen, provide foliage for insects to live (and therefore work for us, by keeping a balance in the garden), and this pond/water is providing a drink for these insects, and a breeding place for frogs too. I’m sure most of humans plight with insects is because we go way overboard trying to control and profiteer at the expense of a natural balance.

Here’s what’s happened so far…Rick dug a 10 meter trench with the excavator in the middle of our paddock. An area that will be central to the market garden and all the little guys that live in there.

We leveled it out, lined it with pond lining felt, then with pond liner and filled her up.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been bartering with a local lady to build up our bee attracting and edible plants around this pond. We give her vegies, she gives us lots of goodies like garlic chives, feverfew, holy basil, thyme and watercress to plant in and around the pond.

We’ve also planted some native trees to add varying levels to the insectary.

It’s early days at the moment, but with time (and rain!) we hope to see this area become a lush and inviting oasis for insects and frogs. And aesthetically pleasing to the human viewers too 🙂