Our backyard ecosystem

Mon. Feb. 25, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Our backyard ecosystem

Our gardens support so much more than the plants and our bellies!  They support wildlife we don’t even see, including some we really don’t want to see and some we wish weren’t there!  backyardecosystem

Japanese beetle on my hardy hibiscus

However, it’s an ecosystem that relies on each other. Let’s consider that term, ecosystem. What’s the definition?

The “sort of” simple explanation is a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.  What that translates to is the plants along with the animals and organisms in the soil work together to form interconnections that sustain each other.  This includes air, water and soil.

This photo shows shrubs in the way background, a cottonwood tree, a raised bed with veggies and flowers and the septic mound, unfortunately, covered in weeds – oh but what insects and critters it held! 2008

To be honest, that septic mound was a failed experiment and later the weeds were mowed down and grass seed planted.  

When the ecosystem gets something foreign introduced, it messes up the symbiotic relationship. So, for instance, when a pesticide that’s made to kill a lot of different kinds of insects gets introduced into the garden, it kills the good guys too and that makes room for the bad bugs to come back stronger.

Soldier beetles on heliopsis – good bug

 So what’s the point of this Garden Bite? Well, it’s twofold, one is to be very considerate of the types of insecticides and herbicides you consider using when those weeds and insects are taking over parts of your landscape and to think more about inviting the creatures and plants that are native to your region into your backyard, or front yard or anywhere in your landscape. 

Prairie Moon Nursery Learning section offers a lot of information on several topics.  Contact local native nurseries, they are a wealth of information.  Wisconsin native plant nurseries list from the WI DNR.  Minnesota native plant nurseries list from the MN DNR.   Living landscapes for South Dakota. Iowa Native nurseries

Attracting good bugs to your landscape from MNN

Lacewing – good bug

 Most of our landscapes are unbalanced. That’s happened over a long period of time. So, rather than place any blame, it makes a lot more sense to move forward with the knowledge that we can take out some lawn and replace it with native grasses and flowers that attract pollinators and other insects and wildlife.  We can skip some of the nasty insecticides and choose more ecosystem friendly options.

Don’t be afraid of weeds in your landscape!

crabgrass, clover and dandelions! Yes, my lawn!