Raking Autumn Leaves

October 2023 - The Benefits of Not Being Tidy

Hi Everyone

Octobers blog is short and sweet, but oh so important.

We have all been there. Those end of season blues when you look at what was once a beautifully laid out, colourful haven, aka your garden, or even your allotment. The urge to tidy everything up is undeniable, but is it the right thing to do?

We err on the side of no, it is not, and here is why.

All that dead matter, dropped leaves and old seed heads etc are actually a haven for insects and vital for pollinators to over winter in. Many butterfly and bee eggs will have been laid in that pile of leaves you are about to lift, and not only those but your friends that help you keep down the dreaded garden pests, such as ladybirds and lacewings. Two things will happen if you persist in being overly tidy. One, you will aid the reduction of the insect species, or two, you will encourage them to go and live elsewhere. We definitely do not want either of those outcomes, more and more lately I have seen people commenting about hand pollination, although there is a place for doing this, it doesn't stretch the grey matter too much to understand why this practice is on the increase.

Another reason is that much of all that you may wish gone is a vital food source for your local bird population. Once they have you mapped as a reliable snack site they will return day after day. Yes, we know you could just put feeders out but why not use what is naturally there? They won't only be munching on overwintering insects but they will be feasting on the still standing seed heads and berries.

Also, all that dead matter, when left to breakdown naturally, becomes a perfect mulch for your soil AND it saves you the job of sourcing a mulch and spreading it!

All of the reasons already mentioned are important and valid but there is one more. We have to realise that we cannot just take and take from the soil. In the end it will not contain the nutrients required to support growth of healthy flowers or vegetables. All of that dead standing matter can be left to breakdown, worked into your soil when it warms up next year (give your baby, or hibernating, pollinators time to leave) and provide a major boost to your soil biome. Not sure what your soil biome is? The soon to be released November blog will be taking an in depth look at Soil Biome. What is it? And what can you do to improve it?

We hope this blog has given you a little food for thought and made you realise that even a small act can be of huge benefit for our environment.

See you further down the garden path.

Seeds To Suit