Members of Bourn Allotment Association where cock-a-hoop last month to receive a Wildlife Gardening Award from the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust based at Cambourne.
We all try to grow our vegetables and fruit in as wildlife friendly way as possible and maintain areas specifically for wildlife at the allotment site and this award was in recognition of our endeavours.
There are many ways to make your garden friendly for wildlife and we employ many of these. We have bug and bee hotels, bird boxes and baths, leave areas wild and have log, stone and leaf piles, several small ponds, as well as access to adjoining pieces of land e.g., access for hedgehogs.
We do not strim the banks during the late spring and summer to allow wildflowers to grow for pollinators and for caterpillars, such as the cinnabar moth. We use very little pesticide or herbicide instead strive to protect our crops using physical barriers such as netting or weed suppressant fabric, sheep’s fleece, companion planting and beer traps or spray with soap, garlic water or neem oil against black and white fly.
We aim to use peat free compost and of course make our own and we all collect rainwater from our sheds to supplement our watering. The site also contains mature trees and shrubs, overall lots of habitats to feed, rest, and nest!
As a result, we get wrens, tits, finches, thrushes, blackbirds, and robins singing to us as we garden, lots of bees and butterflies during the day, whilst foxes, mice and badgers wander round at dusk and dawn, (we did fence the muntjac out though!). Not to mention frogs and toads feasting on those pesky slugs!
There is nothing quite a satisfying as sitting down to a plate of veg you have grown yourself, fresh, organic and with zero air miles.
They might be a bit wonky, occasionally a bit nibbled but they do taste good! Gardening is also a great way to relax, unwind and recharge in nature, and our site is a beautiful place to watch the summer sun go down.
One of our lovely allotment holders is moving on to gardens anew at the end of the season, which is a perfect time to prepare a plot for next year’s growing.
So, if you are a resident of Bourn and would like to try growing your own fruit and vegetables there will be a plot or, 2 half plots, available for rent in the late autumn and lots of friendly advice and plant sharing too.
Contact [email protected] for more information.
To make your own garden as wildlife friendly as possible check the link below to the Wildlife Trust’s website for tips and ideas https://www.wildlifebcn.org/actions/how-grow-wildlife-friendly-vegetable-garden .