ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today we registered our yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. The National Wildlife Federation has a page on gardening for wildlife which lays out the components. I have boldfaced the ones I have.

Walk with me ....
What food sources do I need to certify?
Your habitat needs three of the following types of plants or supplemental feeders:

Seeds from a plant
Bird Feeder
Squirrel Feeder
(basically the same hopper and fly-through feeders as the birds use)
Hummingbird Feeder (I own one, which I hang in summer if I see hummingbirds; I also plant suitable flowers)
Butterfly Feeder

What water sources do I need to certify?
Your habitat needs one of the following sources to provide clean water for wildlife to drink and bathe:

Seasonal Pool (parts of the prairie garden flood)
Water Garden/Pond (used to have, don't currently)
Butterfly Puddling Area (puddles at the end of the driveway)
Rain Garden (corner of house near main door)

I keep trying to coax the butterflies into puddling somewhere they will be safer. They drink from the puddles in the road too. :/ So far, they'll puddle if I put out a dish, but they won't quit drinking out of the driveway.

What kind of cover should I provide?
Wildlife need at least two places to find shelter from the weather and predators:

Wooded Area
Bramble Patch
Ground Cover
Rock Pile or Wall

Roosting Box
Dense Shrubs or Thicket
Brush or Log Pile

Burrow (rabbits dig their own)
Meadow or Prairie
Water Garden or Pond

Not listed on their site, but different and enormously popular: the giant piles of mulch. My detritus food chain is 3 days to apex. \o/ Shelter for beneficial bacteria, fungi, pillbugs, beetles, earthworms, centipedes, spiders, and toads.

And let's not forget the honeybee tree near the orchard. :D

How can I give wildlife a place to raise their young?
You need at least two places for wildlife to engage in courtship behavior, mate, and then bear and raise their young:

Mature Trees
Meadow or Prairie

Nesting Box
Host Plants for Caterpillars
Dead Trees or Snags
Dense Shrubs or a Thicket

Water Garden or Pond

In addition to the standing snags, we also have rotten logs.

Not mentioned on their page, dead leaves are important for many ground-dwelling species. What little raking we do generally gets dumped atop my flowerbeds, creating a cozy place for dead leaf likers.


What sustainable gardening practices do I need to certify?
You need to employ practices from at least two of the three categories below to help manage your habitat in a sustainable way. To better help wildlife, we advocate using one or more practices from each category.

Soil and Water Conservation:
• Riparian Buffer
Capture Rain Water from Roof (see Rain Garden)
Xeriscape (water-wise landscaping) (because we water almost nothing)
• Drip or Soaker Hose for Irrigation
Limit Water Use
• Reduce Erosion (i.e. ground cover, terraces)
Use Mulch
Rain Garden

I hand-water newly planted things, potted plants, and fancier things like herbs if the weather gets too dry. But for the most part, things I plant are expected to take care of themselves.

Controlling Exotic Species:
Practice Integrated Pest Management (all my mantids, let me show you them!)
Remove Non-Native Plants and Animals (well, I try)
Use Native Plants
Reduce Lawn Areas

Areas of lawn: space between house and orchard, south lot, ritual meadow. Everything else: orchard, forest in streetside yard, savanna, prairie garden.

Organic Practices:
Eliminate Chemical Pesticides (rarely used to control invasives such as Japanese beetles nothing will eat)
Eliminate Chemical Fertilizers (occasionally come in potting soil)

I have neither the funds, patience, nor inclination to use pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or other agrochemicals. I use compost or composted manure most often. Sometimes potting soil comes with some added, and I've used a few soil amendments for fussy plants. But mostly I can't be bothered. I expect things to take care of themselves.

Not mentioned on their page, I'm also into permaculture, including guilds. Rather than trying to make a fancy garden out of everything, I draw much of my inspiration from local ecosystems and from indigenous food forests. My permaculture principles boil down to "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can." Gaia is sufficiently pleased with this arrangement to have planted an elderberry tree in the orchard that I didn't have to pay for. \o/

Learn more about how to design a wildlife garden and attract wildlife to your yard. Short on space? Use containers. Here is a video series on gardening for wildlife.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-04 06:22 am (UTC)
thnidu: Lucy bright and bold. Lucida Bright font, boldface: backslash, small-o, slash: YAY!! (yay)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
«Gaia is sufficiently pleased with this arrangement to have planted an elderberry tree in the orchard that I didn't have to pay for. \o/»

Absolutely yay!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-04 11:43 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Hey, if you want to add a roosting and/or nesting box to your garden, give me a shout! I've enough woodworking skills I can make those, and I have a source for sustainable all-natural woods. [i.e no paint or varnishes, just natural oils and waxes used on the finished product.]

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-04 01:34 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
So cool!

(Hey I bet once my Dad gets going on his new garden it'll be certifiable...)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2017-04-05 02:26 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-04 03:41 pm (UTC)
pronker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pronker
A worthy endeavor - I'm pleased to hear the laissez-faire method of gardening works for you. It is a challenge to attempt planting roses by seeds, for instance, yet the bragging rights simply are not worth it. It's also wondrous to read of attention paid to invertebrates; what simple pleasure for a child to discover rolly pollies in the palm of the hand!

Sidenote: walked to the levee yesterday and spotted Swainson's hawk, the gray squirrel that has been noising about the neighborhood the past 4 days, and either an otter or muskrat - couldn't tell at a distance. Kiteflying was an added attraction, too.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-04 04:09 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Oh, hey. I'm very nearly to certification level on most of those categories, and over on some.

Congratulations, you! Your local habitat is very nice to hear about.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-04-04 06:25 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
I'm going to try for it. Water is the sticking point for me, too - this is a desert, after all. Things like a bird bath or a butterfly dish wouldn't be difficult to set up and maintain; we'd just have to keep the feral and semi-feral cats from making them a worse deal than no water at all.

We also benefit from a nearby cattail marsh, and we may be able to coax part of it onto our land, which would neatly meet the requirement, and protect that part of the cattail marsh from future development. I'd need to lower some area, but that's entirely doable.

I blogged about this here to avoid putting a wall of text in your comments. Thanks!

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-04-04 08:09 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Butterflies! \o/ I have all of that, sans a tray on a stick, on hand. (Our soil is clay, so it holds moisture from here to kingdom come if you can get it wet in the first place.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-05 12:29 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
My mom has a good chunk of her yard certified through them. Also saves on mowing, not a minor thing in the Land of Wet that is Pennsylvania.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-09 04:59 am (UTC)
callibr8: icon courtesy of Wyld_Dandelyon (Default)
From: [personal profile] callibr8
Kudos and congratulations!


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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