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Audubon in Action

A Garden Fit for Birds
For bird-friendly habitat, an educational setting, and a bountiful feast, look no further than Bedford Audubon Society’s garden.

 

Photo by Becky Simkhai/Bedford Audubon Society
Click on the image above for a slideshow.

Eat local. That’s the theory behind the Bedford Audubon Society’s bird-friendly vegetable garden, planted first in 2009 and doubled in size to 2,400 square feet this year. “If we can grow our own food and, of course, do it without pesticides, it may be the most practical thing people can do to combat climate change,” says Jim Nordgren, executive director of the chapter, located in Katonah, New York. Gardeners use natural repellents (think smelly herbs) and companion plantings, where, for example, a corn stalk acts as structural support for nearby beans. They plant dill, hyssop, and other pollinator attractors, and teach what Nordgren calls “beneficial borders,” using mint and wormwood to deter plant eaters. Last year the garden attracted 14 pairs of nesting birds and generated more than 200 pounds of produce for the local food bank. “It’s not about growing as much as we can,” Nordgren says. “It’s about learning the process.”—Michele Wilson