Herbs, vegetables, and wildlife:
Growing herbs and vegetables in your garden have many benefits for wildlife, providing food and shelter. Obviously, you don’t want to share too much of your hard-grown produce but old vegetable plants, rotten fruit, etc. can be left out in corners of the garden.
- Birds, insects, and small mammals may use plants with dense leaves as shelter and as a hiding place from predators
- Food sources. Certain vegetables and herbs are great food for lots of wildlife, for example, squirrels really enjoy tomatoes (so you can leave the rotten ones on a plate for them!). This includes small mammals, insects, pollinators, and birds.
- Insects. Some flowers that herbs and vegetables produce are preferred by pest-controlling insects.
Here’s some more specific information about what wildlife enjoy when it comes to herbs and vegetables:
- Dill. Seed-eating birds such as Finches and Sparrows love dill seeds.
- Sweetcorn. Finches, Tits, and other seed-eating birds love sweetcorn.
- Peas. Pea plants attract pigeons and doves as they feed on young shoots or peas themselves.
- Brussels sprouts. Again, pigeons and doves feed on the leaves and developing sprouts.
- Lavender. Bees, butterflies, and hoverflies always visit lavender for nectar.
- Mint. Bees, butterflies, and hoverflies are drawn to mint flowers.
- Rosemary, Thyme, and Sage. As above, these three herbs are very attractive to pollinators as they have small flowers.
- Cabbage family plants. Cabbage, Kale, and Broccoli can attract Small White and Large White butterflies.
- Coriander. Ladybirds love coriander plants, and they also will eat nearby aphids, acting as natural pest control!
- Dill. Also loved by ladybirds.
- Mint, Parsley, and Thyme. These herbs are attractive to small mammals such as mice.
- Carrots. These are loved by mice and rabbits.
- Tomatoes. Squirrels love this plant.
- Peas. Peas and their young shoots are very attractive to many small mammals.
When planting herbs and vegetables, be prepared to share with your local wildlife! Having extra crops which you don’t mind going to wildlife can improve the biodiversity of your garden and encourages coexistence with other species.
If you hand-pick snails every evening from the vegetable area and remove them more than 20 meters away, within a week or two the population will be severely reduced!