Or why we are not cleaning up for our guests
Our woodland at Valley View is a wildlife haven. We see barn owls at night, and deer at dawn. The local badger population love to raid the fat balls that we buy for our bird population. We just hope they are storing rather than gorging. Because as winter approaches supplies will become scarce.
So, while we keep the path to our secluded log cabin swept clean and safe, we are careful not to clean up areas that could provide valuable habit. And, as the leaves begin to cover the ground we leave them lying. Then the humble worm can do its important work.
Our soil is heavy clay. When a worm pulls a leaf down into the ground it creates a little track or tunnel. This aerates the soil and makes drainage holes and, most importantly spaces that the growing tree roots can move into. And not only do we humans need trees to breathe but they house a myriad of other species.
Space for tree roots to grow
Space was the subject of our last blog. Now were are talking about space for tree roots. We have four acres where we can nurture wildlife. We leave dead tree trunks for insect life and piles of brash for hedgehogs and mice and creepy crawlies which in turn feed owls and birds. Even fungus feeds the eco-system by breaking down old wood and turning it into nutrients. And similarly worms pre-digest mouldy leaves which in time becomes food for plants.
Of course, if you have a smallish garden you may struggle with the idea of leaving it unkept. And while we know that our barn owls will keep the mice from our kitchen who may be keen to keep little creatures at bay.
But there are small things at everyone can do for worms and wildlife :
- Avoid using coverings as weed control. It kills the soil and and all it harbours.
- Let leaves lie a little longer, at least in some areas, so the worms can do their work
- Use organic products such as rotted chicken or horse manure as fertiliser; synthetic products will endanger your worm population and more.
- Remember worms retreat too.