We have over 100 bird boxes throughout our orchard. We are convinced it gives us bird protection. Mainly in the orchards, we are colonized by swallows and house wrens, but finally, after all these years, in 2017, we saw three houses of bluebirds nesting here!We feed a ton of birds in the feeders, which seems to keep the lovely little goldfinches out of the Saskatoons. We usually have warblers, cedar waxwings, hawks, red pols, northern grosbeaks, blue jays, chickadees, and hummingbirds! We have seen the odd oriole flit through, which is another challenge for us.
We put out mason bees and do all we can to encourage the native bee population. We do that by increasing our plant diversity. For instance, we have seeded Dutch clover in the rows, supplying nitrogen for our fruit plants and pollen for the native bees.Why all the fuss about the mason and native bees? Wild bees and Mason bees are supposed to be way better pollinators than honeybees. Good pollination makes bigger, better fruit and more of it. All the wild, natural areas foster a community of insects that help keep the “bad” insects under control, as nature intended.
We like to inoculate our plants with beneficial organisms that help fight off plant diseases. Trichoderma is a naturally occurring fungus found in the soil that grows on the roots of plants. We will be showering our strawberry plants with Trichoderma and likely kefir whey and maybe some kombucha for good measure.
There is no shortage of game. We have many deer, moose, elks, coyotes, weasels, muskrats, and porcupines. We relocate some animals and drat the deer.