The Gardening Nana: Ducks on Pest Control in the Garden!
| Nancy Craig
Earlier this summer we visited our daughter, Ann, in Colorado and got to meet her baby ducks. She had just gotten the ducks with the plan that they would eat the grasshoppers that have plagued her organic herb and flower garden. What a hoot! Baby ducks are the cutest things to watch as they waddle in a group, darting here and there chirping like crazy, then flopping in and out of their kiddie wading pool. Now that’s summer fun!
The trend in urban farming these days is to have chickens in your backyard to give you eggs and to help fertilize your garden. However, another option are ducks that provide the eggs and manure, plus they are weed, grasshopper, and slug eating machines. Better yet, the ducks are great pets.
Ann has two Rouen and two runner ducks. She named one of the runner ducks, Jemina, after the character in Beatrix Potter’s book, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. I plan to read to my great nieces the Beatrix Potter stories that bring animals alive in the garden.
Using ducks as natural pest control is one of the sustainable practices that Ann learned when she earned a Permaculture Certification at Indiana University and again in Colorado. To learn more about this way of gardening, see The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country by Peter Bane.
Before you get ducks, determine if your neighborhood allows them. Since mine doesn’t, I’m trying to attract more slug-eating toads into my hosta beds. My great nephews may try to turn the toads into pets, but they won’t make me smile like Ann’s pet ducks.
Nancy loves flower gardening almost as much as she does her great nephews and nieces. Her interest in gardening intensified while living in Holland and was perfected with Master Gardener courses.