Last year I went to the Gympie Garden Expo where Jerry Coleby – Williams spoke about ’21st Cottage Gardening’. One tip that I received from this interesting presentation was the importance of creating an environment that will attract the ‘good’ bugs.
What are good bugs?
Good bugs are your super hero friends in the garden. They will go about their merry way fighting those bad bugs for you. Yes, your garden can be a battleground but if you provide shelter and food for these super heroes and they will reward you immensely.
How to create and environment that good bugs like
Food is always an inviting prospect. I love catching up with friends but when there is a meal thrown in – I’m there!
What do the good bugs like? Nectar and pollen. Super heroes have to eat to provide them with energy to continue the fight. If tasty treats are on offer, the good bugs will be happy in your garden.
Flowers are a great source of nectar and pollen. In Jerry’s presentation, he spoke the concept of creating a predator border of flowers and plants, which will attract the good bugs. As an added bonus this border will also add a touch of prettiness to your garden.
Some flowers are better than others in attracting the good guys. As a guide, aim to have these flowers in your garden
You can also buy ‘good bug seed mix’ from seed retailers. I get a beneficial insect mix from Eden Seeds – This has a mixture of basil, dill, marigolds, cosmos, coriander and radishes in the seed mix. Green Harvest also sells Good Bug Mix.
I sow these seeds in patches around my veggie garden. I started doing this in August last year and have continued to keep sowing patches here and there, where ever there is space really! Not only do they attract our super hero friends but they add bursts of colour to your garden. I have fallen in love with cosmos flowers through doing this – they are beautiful.
Two helpful tips
When sowing your good bug mix, fill half a jar with seed raising mixture or potting mix. Tip your seed in and give the jar a shake. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the area where you’d like to sow your seed. I have found that this technique spreads the seed evenly so you have a nicely spaced patch of flowers.
PS Lettuce seed is shown in the pic below 🙂
If you have any marigolds, basil, dill or coriander growing in your garden, let a few of these plants go to seed. Not only will these plants self seed and you will get random good bug plants in your garden but you can make your own good bug mix. I had to do this one day when I ran out of my Eden Seeds beneficial bug seed mix. I used the coriander, basil and marigold seeds that I had collected to make my own good bug seed mix.
How to identify the good guys
Lacewings, Ladybugs, Hoverflies, Assassin Bugs, Damsel bugs – these are the names of your super hero friends. There is a wealth of information online. By using Google images you will be able to visually identify the bugs you need to attract. Also, if you see a bug you aren’t too sure of, a website like Entomology Australia can help and provide you with great links.
Since I have sown beneficial insect mix in my garden, I have noticed an increase of my garden super heroes. So go on, attract those good guys – every garden could do with some super heroes!
PS I haven’t even mentioned the pollinating insects that have been attracted as well – These guys are awesome as well!