As soon as spring begins, the first birds start building their nests, the delicate scent of sloe blossoms and the fluttering of colorful butterflies caresses you, peach trees and wild cherries are so lavishly covered with white or pink blossoms that tears well up in the eyes of every true romantic … Not a trace of all this when you stroll through your garden in spring? Then the prospect of realizing the image just conjured up is perhaps the final impetus to transform your garden into a natural garden. Here you can find out how to do this, step by step or if you want to create a new natural garden.

Natural garden without new planting

Quite a few people in our country have long since come to the realization that it is not as harmless as (including government) information sources claim if all the food on the plate that has grown in the soil has been treated with pesticides.

However, these people often have a bit of a fear of conversion, which does not necessarily dissipate when they first take the initiative and casually talk to a garden architect about transforming their garden into a natural garden. He’s just bursting with ideas – which all sound as if they didn’t necessarily cost little money. Of course, if you have the wherewithal, having your natural garden (re)designed by a garden architect is a convenient (and instructive) solution.

If not, or if you’d rather spend your money on tech or travel, you might as well get to work yourself. Here we show you how you can gradually create a natural garden without turning the whole garden upside down.

The first step

The first step is simple renunciation. Neither chemical-synthetic pesticides (plant protection products) nor easily soluble mineral fertilizers nor peat are used in the natural garden. Those are the obvious basics. So that your garden does not remain bare next year, start the changeover by choosing the plants for the next season. Here are a few key points for “natural” shopping:

  • Plant protection starts with buying the right plants.
  • Don’t buy hybrids that are only bred for one season anymore, because these magnificent color wonders have major disadvantages:
  • They are grown in large facilities under exactly the right conditions, which are often very specific requirements.
  • You can almost never meet these special requirements in terms of location or nutrients in your garden anyway.
  • However, the hybrid breeds are no longer equipped with the complete gene pool, which results in a loss of resistance.
  • There is another way: Buy native plants that have been grown under conditions similar to those found in your garden.
  • Make sure that you only buy plants whose location and nutrient requirements you can meet.
  • These plants are a lot easier to care for and much less disease-prone to begin with.
  • They are also better adapted to our climatic conditions, which saves you money and time on fertilizing and watering.
  • The environment is also served because the local wildlife depends on the native plants as a source of food.
  • Even if shopping in the traditional garden center will be a bit more expensive:
  • In the long term you save money on fertilizer and water and expensive pesticides.

Plant protection in the natural garden

Even these native plants struggle at first to settle into the new soil (which may also leave something to be desired), but you can help them: you can stabilize the health of the new “garden dwellers” with plant strengtheners.

Such plant strengtheners are self-made broths/manure that also act as liquid fertilizer. Such plant manure is prepared in wooden or plastic containers and then fermented. Placing the batch in the sun will speed up fermentation, and your strengthening and fertilizing agent will be ready in around two to three weeks. Daily stirring is mandatory, the fermentation needs oxygen. People with sensitive noses should add a little valerian flower extract or half a pound of stone powder to the broth so that they don’t lose their senses at the first smell experience. But don’t panic, it’s all natural and you don’t have to drink it – you get used to it, really. Here are some basic recipes:

  • Nettle and comfrey liquid manure: Mix 1 kg of fresh leaves or 0.2 kg of dried herb in a bucket with water and allow to ferment. Liquid fertilizer and plant strengthener, is applied diluted 1 to 10.
  • Garlic liquid manure: Soak and ferment 0.5 kg garlic (roughly chopped, with skin), 0.5 kg onions and a few leaves from a blackcurrant bush in a 10 l bucket. Strengthens the plant’s defenses against fungal diseases, also use diluted 1:10.

expel pests

Tomato extract: Leave a coffee cup (stuffed) full of leaves and saplings to steep in 2 to 3 liters of water for half a day and pour over the cabbage plants every other day when the cabbage whites are approaching.

To ward off pests, you should try to recruit as many beneficial insects as “allies” as early as this first phase on the way to a natural garden. The beneficial insects will be happy to help you if you offer them nesting sites and food in return. But something tasty, please: hoverflies like e.g. B. dill flowers, fennel flowers and wild carrot flowers, and they attack their aphids in return.

Incidentally, you save even more time and money if you replace as many new plants as possible every season with perennial perennials. But the floor usually needs a bit of extra help first:

Get your floor moving

If a garden floor has only seen artificial fertilizers, monocultures and chemicals for a long time, exactly what makes the garden floor the garden floor has left it. An intricate web of microorganisms that does a tremendous job in the soil and keeps the soil going in exactly that sense by processing plant debris while plowing and aerating the soil.

There are different levels or ways of floor care. Sometimes just a varied planting over a few years is enough. Sometimes this soil treatment should already consist of special plants (a green manure). Proper soil remediation with the introduction of special microorganisms and special plants may also be necessary.

If you then withdraw nutrients from this soil again by harvesting vegetables, lawn clippings or trimming ornamental plants, the next step is due. These nutrients must be returned to the soil through compost and mulching. A compost heap is now being created.

In addition, there is a whole range of other organic substances that are available for fertilization, such as horn shavings and horse manure. Such “additional feed” has proven itself e.g. B. when creating a completely new garden, or if you want to grow heavy feeders in the vegetable patch.

Increase every season

The next stage in the gradual design of a natural garden is also almost no work, it is more a matter of aesthetic getting used to: As difficult as many order fanatics find it, it is good for your garden if you simply leave a few small corners to develop untouched.

A spot with undergrowth or wild growth is important in the natural garden, for hedgehogs and many other small animals. The wild herbs growing here increase the biodiversity of the fauna that surrounds you. They are also very willingly eaten by the caterpillars of all sorts of butterflies. If you pile up the leaves in a heap in this corner in autumn, you have built the hedgehog’s winter quarters. The ladybugs too, by the way. In the next season they will then eat around 150 aphids per day per beetle.

Of course, you can also actively create a “wild corner in the natural garden” by piling up a pile of dead wood and stones. It then offers a wide variety of insects, many species of beetles, spiders, birds and small animals a habitat and protective shelter. But please don’t think that our small animal world doesn’t have its requirements:
It should be in a nice, warm, sunny location, and visiting every day isn’t possible, so an undisturbed location is important.

With changes to the natural garden

If you have carried out the actions described above, your garden has really come a huge step closer to nature. Of course, there are still a lot of sensible actions or omissions that are a matter of course in a real natural garden:

  • There are no double flowers in the natural garden, as they are mostly sterile – even if a bee can fight its way through the flower jungle, it will not find any nectar and cannot carry any pollen.
  • Without nectar and pollen, of course, no fruit can form, and a few “doubles” that bear fruit are to the liking of almost everyone.
  • For example, only one bird species likes the fruit of the Chinese blood-red hawthorn, while 32 different birds feed on the native hawthorn.
  • It’s a similar story with roses: the single but fragrant flowers of dog rose, vinegar rose and apple rose are particularly popular with insects, which are also much more robust than their highly cultivated relatives.
  • The rose hips formed by wild roses are coveted delicacies for 27 species of birds.
  • Eventually create a flower meadow that consists of many different plants and provides habitat and food for thousands of animals, very different from the labor-intensive and water-guzzling lawn.
  • Replace your concrete slabs with natural path coverings or at least leave some space between the stones for hard-wearing ground cover.
  • Build nesting aids that save many a bird frustrated by our “tidy” environment from real housing shortages.
  • Choose native shrubs and plants and shrubs when it comes to replanting, for the sake of surrounding wildlife and your own convenience.
  • Create a natural pond that improves the microclimate in the garden, increases biodiversity and is its own biotope.
  • Build a dry stone wall in or around the natural garden, which will greatly benefit numerous endangered species.

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