Georgina Knibbs from the Ecology Consultancy visited the allotments on the 25th of September. Georgina was documenting wildlife habitats and species that exist on the site and is examining links with neighbouring green spaces that provide a foothold for different plants and animals in our area. The purpose of the survey, which was commissioned by Ealing Council, is to create a local action plan for wildlife and improve the habitats in our green spaces locally.
She was happy to see several ponds on plots along with wildflower plantings, bug houses and fruit trees. These various features encourage pollinators and other fauna to take up residence on our site.
Georgina says there are several things plot holders can do to give nature a helping hand:
- If you or your neighbouring plot don’t have one, consider putting in a pond. This will bring frogs to your site which are “nature’s slug pellets”
- Plant wildflowers in an area or create a wild border. The diversity of flowers gives pollinators food when other plants are not flowering.
- Create a dry hedge with tree cuttings. Bernd has started one on plot 1, this gives hedgehogs and other wildlife a much need shelter on their travels.
- Allow some nettles to grow. It may sound controversial but several species of butterfly including the Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Painted Lady depend on nettles for their lifecycle, so a small patch is no bad thing. Also, the plants can be harvested to make a liquid fertilizer for tomatoes.
- Build a bug hotel for winter. Many of our insect friends need shelter over the winter so why not build a bug hotel to help them out.
- Speaking of bugs, the Stag Beetle is in decline. If you have a large log or stump partially bury it in a quiet area of the plot. This will give the larvae a vital habitat, they do not damage living timber.