Increasing biodiversity and #NoMowMay

Apr 18, 2023

Whether you have, or are working on, a garden, smallholding, farm or allotment you can make a difference to the biodiversity of the land. This month is ‘No Mow May’, an initiative spearheaded by the conservation charity Plantlife. It’s simple ask is that you don’t mow your lawn in May, and then at the end of May, count up how many different species of plants you have on your lawn to contribute to their ‘Every Flower Counts’ survey.

But what if you don’t have a lawn? What else can you do to increase biodiversity on your land?

The aim is to create more habitats and food sources for a wide range of animals, birds and insects.

  • Let your hedgerows grow taller. Leave the hedge-cutter in the shed! 1.5m is a good start, allowing more space for birds to nest away from predators, and leaving more wood that can blossom and fruit. This provides food for bees, insects, animals and birds.
  • Sow wildflowers in underused corners and edges of fields. A large range of varieties with a mixture of flower heights, attract a diverse number of insect species and provide habitats at different times of year. Planting flowers in amongst your veg garden has many added benefits too. Look up ‘companion planting’ and ‘nectar bar’.

  • Turn a wet or waterlogged area into a pond or bog garden. Whilst a large pond is a rather more involved project, a small pond using an offcut of plastic or an old container or bath, can be a simple one hour project to set a WWOOFer on. It is surprising how quickly wildlife will find your little pond, and you can’t have too many! Make sure to have a way for animals to get out, a sturdy branch or plank of wood should be enough.
  • Plant more trees. Having multiple varieties that blossom and fruit at different times is the best thing for biodiversity, providing year round food.

  • Create intentional wildlife log piles, compost heaps and rock piles. These can be great habitats for such a range of creatures, from hedgehogs to reptiles, bugs and beetles.
  • Put up a couple of tall posts for owls and other birds of prey. If you already have fence posts, make sure a few are clear of vegetation to allow the birds with large wing spans to land safely (a tawny owls wingspan is around 1m wide!), and then have a clear view of their hunting ground.

Wasp beetle

What else have you done to increase the biodiversity on your land? Have you got any tips or suggestions for other hosts? Or something you’ve learnt whilst WWOOFing? Please email the editor! editor@wwoof.org.uk

All photos taken and owned by alice@wwoof, all from a 1 acre garden in the West Midlands.

For more information about #NoMowMay visit Plantlife

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