The Importance of Having Your Own Garden

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There are many reasons to have a garden of your own. Some of you may have a garden and might want to add to it. Perhaps you might want to have a vegetable garden, simple flower garden, or maybe even a combination of multiple types of gardens. Having a garden of any type is a great reason to get out in nature, slow down for a bit and enjoy the small things. For many, this can be a small escape from the busyness of a hectic lifestyle.

Vegetable gardens are an obvious type of garden that many would like to have. The idea of growing your own food and providing for yourself is intriguing to many, and for good reason. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people having vegetable gardens increased due to many food shortages that folks were experiencing. For most, they utilized or added a vegetable garden this past year, or at least contemplated having one. Being able to supply your own food is an enticing idea to many; even if you grow a small amount, it still feels amazing to have some farm fresh vegetables. I am sure most people can agree that the best tomato is one freshly picked and still warm from the sun!

Another aspect to consider when deciding on the type of garden you might want is how your garden will affect the wildlife in the area. Every plant will affect wildlife, either in a positive or negative aspect. Oftentimes, we might see stunning plants at the garden centers and decide to add them to our garden, but one should always look into that plant and see how it is useful to the native wildlife here. For many plants, they might not be useful to the wildlife here, or even worse, they could cause significant harm. You may want to also determine if a plant is an invasive species that can get out of control  and damage local ecosystems or is it simply a non-native species. These are important thoughts to consider when creating your garden. Many people love their lawn areas, and they can be nice to relax in during a summer day but consider utilizing some of your lawn space as a native wildlife habitat. You may be surprised by the amount of life that will come back to your garden!

When creating your wildlife garden, you will want to choose each plant specifically. You will want to see if they serve a purpose to the native wildlife in your area. Do they support the pollinators, provide food for wildlife or serve as host plants for butterflies and moths to reproduce? Is there a fresh water source or a place for wildlife to seek shelter? These are all important things to consider. A lot of areas might also give out certificates, or even signage to a garden area if it meets certain requirements for wildlife. One to think about is creating a monarch butterfly waystation in your garden. You can get that registered (Click here to learn more) and you can even have a sign up that states your garden is an official “monarch waystation”! Another popular certification is the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program. Click here to visit their page! Reach out to your extension agent to learn more about starting or expanding your garden, as well as incorporating wildlife habitat into your garden.

Butterfly on Mexican sunflower

Butterfly on Mexican sunflower

Beautiful Mexican sunflower

Beautiful Mexican sunflower