While there are a lot of different types of habitat features (plants could be called habitat features) I really like using rocks and logs since I have found these bring a lot of benefits to my wild homestead.
Benefits of Rock and Log Piles
Whenever I make a new garden or growing area I always add rock and log piles. The picture above is a new garden area that has a vegetable growing area and an area for wild flowers. Between these 2 areas is a large pile of rocks and logs with a snag in the middle.
These sort of piles are exactly where the local garter snakes like to hangout. But ground beetles, centipedes, and amphibians also like these sort of areas.
All of these are predators that will eat many of the garden pests common in my area. Pests such as slugs and pill bugs.
So by making sure I add rock and log piles around my garden areas and general growing areas I can make sure these predators hangout right where I need them.
Does This Work?
In my experience creating these sort of habitat features has made a big difference. I see far less slugs than I used to and it seems to get better each year.
Last year I had to take apart one of my rock piles because grass was coming up through it and I didn’t want grass there.
As I was taking it apart I found a garter snake tucked in tight in the rock pile. A few years ago my Dad was taking apart a large rock pile to move it and found dozens of salamanders hiding away in it.
These sort of habitat features not only provide shelter during the summer months but they’re also the places where amphibians and reptiles like to overwinter.
But it can take time for the predators to find these habitat features and move in. This is not an instant form of pest control but if you do this every time you create a new growing area overtime you will have more and more predators and less and less pests.
I can definitely attest to this being the best source of slug control on the PNW. It was only the debris piles.that we made that kept us from going broke on sluggo at our old place. Yours are much.more artfully done than ours were
s. lowe wrote:I can definitely attest to this being the best source of slug control on the PNW. It was only the debris piles.that we made that kept us from going broke on sluggo at our old place. Yours are much.more artfully done than ours were
Thanks for sharing! I have been having fun with mine but not all of them look as nice. Yeah, I think these sort of features are a very important part of a whole system based approach to pest control. These features won't do it all by themselves but when combined with other approaches that work with nature I think they can really help. One thing I really like about these features is that I can put them right next to an area that I need pest control (a vegetable garden)--it's a great way to attract predators right to where the pests are an issue.
Just posted on the blog. Awesome work. I appreciated the numbered checklist.
We had a de facto rock and log pile between the garage and the fence at my parents' place. There was an abundance of critters living there that I hadn't even though to find in my garden.
And once we cleared away the old garage and the "garbage" that went with it, I had to set up all-new predator habitats and draws.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
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