When you sew native pollinator seeds, stop mowing, and allow natural meadow to emerge an replace a lawn, you will always have some neighbors who will complain.
Usually they escalate their complaints by claiming that rats are mosquitos will be drawn to the dense vegetation.
The irony is that these same neighbors usually have birdfeeders, and a simple game camera or spotlight can quickly confirm that these feeders are what draws rats and other rodents at night.
I’ve noticed that since my yard cum meadow now has many songbirds and chipmunks and shrews and rabbits, there is usually a hawk or owl watching it hungrily.
Needless to say, I see many types of wildlife at night, but never rats. When I see rats, I see them making bee lines from the storm drains to the birdfeeders in the golf course lawns.
Also, since I installed my mosquito fish ponds, I can go out in my back yard without a shirt for hours. When it was a standard lawn of Saint Augustine grass, it was swarming with mosquitos, mostly invasive Asian tiger mosquitos.
Native ecologies work.
Pictured above are joe pye weed and cup plant in the foreground and Mexican sunflower in the background.
The front and back yards are tangles of heirloom vegetables and wildflowers of many different types, and that draws a lot of butterflies, especially the large yellow tiger swallowtails.
Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifolia) and various varieties of sunflowers dominate about half the area with full sunlight, with cosmos, coneflowers, and zinnias making up most of the rest, at least as far as annuals.
Note that all of those flowers are warm yellow, orange. and red colors, and so it’s a little dazzling on blue-sky days, especially with all the large butterflies flying around.
Going into this, I explained to my son that we had several challenges and unknowns and that the goal for the first year might be merely to raise enough seed for next year, preferably enough seed that we could sow it in a thick tangle with enough left over in case a late freeze killed the first round of seedlings.
We did much better than that, at least for most things.
We had a gallon of tiny tomatoes about every 2 to 3 days and a good supply of peppers too, more than we could eat and dehydrate easily.
We managed to get about two quarts of black beans for seeds, and the Chinese brown cotton made enough for seeds too.
On the other hand, the rabbits killed the squash plants by chewing the bases of the plants, and so we only got a few scalloped squash and zucchini.
The corn was a complete loss in spite of growing very well. The squirrels ate it all.
We aren’t using any pesticides on our plants. We aren’t shooting the squirrels, although I have explained to my son that in a time of hunger, we wouldn’t have to worry about them because they would have already seen the inside of a pot.
Germination Room 1: Formerly Known as the Dining Room
Instead of buying plastic germination trays, I wanted to show my son how to reuse recycled materials like cardboard and the rolls from toilet paper in some totes on loan from the warehouse. Continue reading “Seedlings”