Tag Archives Backyard Wildlife Garden

Preparing Your Wildlife Garden for Winter

Winter is closer than you think and now is the perfect time to start preparing your wildlife garden for winter.  Fall is the time to harvest any vegetables, clear out your bed and get manure ready for next year.  You may still have flowers blooming but it won’t be long before the leaves start piling up so now is the time to get started.  It’s not just plants that need some TLC before winter it is also the wildlife that lives there too.  Here is how you can get started.

Compost

Composting is a cheap and easy way to provide valuable nutrients to your soil for the next year.  Not only that but lots of bugs, hedgehogs and other amphibians will hibernate in the warm compost over the course of the winter.  When the temperature drops most of these insects and animals will die if they can’t find a place to hibernate.  If you haven’t got your compost ready then now is the time to start.  Here is some help with getting your composter ready for winter.

Leaving Seeds

Seeds are predominant in the fall and some plants create thousands of seeds.  These seeds provide food for lots of birds like finches that rely on them for a food source over the winter.  While you may be tempted to start cutting back the bushes and shrubs rather you should wait until the birds have had their fill first.  That way they can fill up on berries and seeds before winter sets in.

Cleaning Up Your Pond

If you have a pond in your garden then you need to get that clean up as well.  When the leaves start falling the last thing you want is for them to end up in your pond turning it into a stagnant mess.  At the same time if you cover up the pond then the local wildlife like birds, squirrels and other animals lose a valuable source of water.  If you cover the pond then you should provide another source of water.

Leave the Leaves Alone

There is nothing like the brilliant hues of the changing leaves in the fall, the rich reds, oranges and browns that make fall beautiful.  But most homeowners make a habit of raking up those leaves and shoving them in plastic bin bags.  While you don’t need to leave falling leaves all over the property but you shouldn’t rake every last one of them up either.  Over the winter leaves provide shelter for small animals and provide food for worms.

As you prepare your garden for the winter don’t forget the animals that will be trying to escape the cold this winter too.

Creating a Backyard Wildlife Garden

Most homeowners use their back garden as a place to entertain friends and families, it is a show piece meant to impress.  Others prefer something a little wilder and instead they are creating a backyard wildlife garden instead of something manicured.  A wildlife garden gives you the chance to create a home for birds and animals that have lost theirs to urban expansion.  If you want to create a habitat for wildlife here are some things that you are going to need.

Providing Food

Birds and animals go where the food is, so if you provide a food source for wildlife they will show up.  Even if all you put in the yard is a bird feeder, which will bring birds and squirrels to the garden.  You can pick up some birdseed at the local home improvement store or even the local supermarket.  Once you set up your birdfeeder both birds and squirrels will start enjoying their next meal there.  You need to check it regularly because squirrels will steal all of the food and hoard it.  If you prefer you can get a bird feeder that is squirrel proof and then feed nuts to the squirrels separately.

Providing Water

All animals need water to survive and they spend as much time looking for fresh water as they do food.  During the warmer summer months it can be difficult for animals to find a source of clean water.  You can put out smaller bowls of fresh water that allows them to safely get water. You need to be careful and change the water often or you will end up with mosquitos instead of birds and squirrels.

A Place to Sleep

Animals also need a place to nest and raise their young.  It really doesn’t take much to provide shelter, it can be as simple as hanging a birdhouse in the back garden.  Trees are also ideal places for them to build a nest.  During the fall when the temperature changes or during a storm, small animals will need to seek shelter, if you provide it for them they will be happy to call your back garden home.   You can also let your grass grow wild if possible and that will let other small animals to build a nest in the weeds or underground.

It really doesn’t take much to provide food and shelter and turn your back garden into a sanctuary for wildlife native to your area.  It’s good for the animals and good for the environment.