Chris Kott wrote:Hi Daron.
I like the approach a lot. It sounds to me much like what I encourage to happen in my garden.
I think the observation about a green, decorative desert surrounding a garden oasis is interesting, but perhaps problematic.
I think Malthus would agree that populations, in absence of something to control their numbers, will grow to the size dictated by the amount of food available.
So if you add wild food sources to the areas surrounding your garden, while I think it's possible that the first year, the pests might keep to the wild food, certainly some will go for the garden buffet anyways, as a garden is pest candy in a conveniently compact area, and my thought is that eventually, as in within a generation of pest breeding or two, that their numbers will increase due to the overall greater availability of food.
So the generation after they have filled the surrounding area, you could easily be inundated by pests, unless there's been an effort to boost the levels of predatory insects, as has been mentioned.
As much as the oasis-in-a-decorative-desert idea works to explain things here, I think it's the concentration of nutrient-dense food items that draw pests to gardens. I think one would need to kick off a surge in the predatory insect population to match that of the pest species in lock-step.
I love the pic of that Mantis cocoon. Keep 'em coming, keep us posted, and good luck.
Daron Williams wrote: I think if you are trying to support beneficial insects that planting native plants and especially native flowers will do even more than just planting a diversity of non-native flowers.
My thought is that if you are mainly planting the flowers to support wildlife then why not focus on the natives? Chances are it will increase your plant diversity by a lot since most of us don't have a lot of native flowers in and around our gardens.
Daron Williams wrote:Earlier I mentioned the need to have a shift in mindset to get the most out of the methods mentioned here and in my blog post.
The mindset shift is to start considering every part of your property - the lawn, the garden, the forest, the fields, the pond, the flower bed, etc. - as all part of one interconnected ecosystem. That means planting edible plants for you to eat all over. It also means planting plants for wildlife throughout your garden.
You can still focus your garden on vegetables, and another area on fruit trees but if you can also mix and match you will get far more diversity of life. Each part of your property should merge into the other as opposed to having hard lines separating them.
Think about the edge of a forest and a field. It is not a straight line - the two habitats flow into each other and the resulting edge environment is even more diverse than the two more uniform habitats. Your property can mimic this.
Ultimately if you shift your mindset in this way you can eliminate the oasis garden in a desert problem. The pests won't concentrate in your garden because there will be food everywhere - the garden just won't be that special or unique.