Insect hotel for habitat and resilience

We recently hosted a small party of permaculture aficionados who came to spend a few hours with us here, share a meal, tools, skills, conversations, friendship and fun…

Kids played together, hammering nails into wood and going to and fro the sand pit, patting baby chicken and rabbits along the way, brushing against the plants in our veggie patch and orchard, harvesting flowers, sun and oxygen…

The basis of this gathering was to learn how to make an insect hotel from scratch and why we might need some in our backyards. It was also to play together and have fun.

What is an insect hotel

Insect hotel by TG
Insect hotel by TG

An insect hotel is an infrastructure that welcomes beneficial insects in a certain area of your garden, orchard or backyard, providing them shelter and a place to nest, close to their food source.

These infrastructures are made of absolutely any material you can upcycle or repurpose – wood, logs, stump, bricks, besser blocks, pipes, pallets, terracotta pots, corrugated cardboard, straw, etc.

They can be made into a simple structure which you hang in a tree, such as a large bamboo pole cut to size and filled with sticks or bark… or it could be an elaborate structure requiring wood work, tools and a construction mind-set!

What motivates us here at Valley’s End is to ‘make things with what we have’…  and for these things to be functional and pretty too.

We scavenged sticks and bark from our farm driveway and old fence paling from a council clean up pile. Jaz brought pine cones, Andrew cordless drill and other tools and Di large bamboo poles.

Functions of an insect hotel

  • Mini insect hotel to hang out in the garden - by Isa
    Mini insect hotel to hang out in the garden – by Isa

    Increase biodiversity

  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Habitat: nest, hibernation shelter
  • Pollination
  • Education
  • Fun project for kids (and grown-up!)
  • Upcycled garden art

Insects it will attract

  • Parasitic insects
  • Solitary bees and wasps
  • Decomposers
Diversity of materials for a diversity of insect species, functions and beauty
Diversity of materials for a diversity of insect species, functions and beauty

Beetles  – Bark laid onto each others
Centipede  – Decaying wood
Earwigs – Bundle of dry grass or straw
Hoverfly – Hollow stems
Lacewing – Rolled corrugated cardboard
Ladybugs – Twigs, hollow stems, leaf litter
Native bees – Hollow wood, empty coconut
Slaters – Decaying wood
Solitary bees – Hollow stems, pipes, bricks (with holes), bamboo
Solitary wasps – Hollow stems, pipes, bricks (with holes), bamboo
Spiders – Any dry nook and cranny

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Design from patterns to details

We come from families of farmers and gardeners and they are, like everybody else, growing old.

They’ve always managed their gardens the same, traditional, way ; carting in wheelbarrow-full of composts and manures to enrich the soil, ploughing with a rotary hoe, planting densely, weeding by hand, etc. The older they’re getting, the lesser the area is cultivated (and the weeds colonize the vacant land), and the more reliant they have become on synthetic fertilizers, slug pellets and weedkiller too. Continue reading “Design from patterns to details”

Mid-winter harvest (and how a permaculture garden survives six weeks of neglect)

We’re back from a long trip and I come home to a garden that is pumping food (and some weeds too!). During that time we’ve been away, I believe the garden survived on its own, fed by the diverse organic matter and soil biota which I have lovingly helped establish and by the occasional rain. Continue reading “Mid-winter harvest (and how a permaculture garden survives six weeks of neglect)”

A market to grow farmers

We’re away on a trip overseas and in the small town where we are there is a farmers’ market twice a week. Yes, twice a week!

Locals come and get their fresh produce, have a chat with the farmer and other patrons of the market, they meet friends or make new ones. I find this amazing that for such a rather small place, there could be the need for two markets a week. And there is. Continue reading “A market to grow farmers”

Settling into Autumn

Here is a collection of pictures taken today…


See you at one of our courses to learn more about permaculture design, forest gardening or simply to hang out in our beautiful little valley!

Double digging for bio-intensive garden

Composts, animal manure, green manure, cover crops, no dig gardening… there is a plethora of options when it comes to raising, naturally, the fertility of our soils. Continue reading “Double digging for bio-intensive garden”

The ultimate permaculture plant – Queensland Arrowroot

Clump of Queensland Arrowroot
Clump of Queensland Arrowroot

Queensland Arrowroot is a perennial clump-forming plant of the same family as the ornamental Canna Lilly. It grows up to 2m in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical landscapes. It has an edible tuber, thick stalks and large bright green rounded leaves. Once a clump is established, it resists well to wind, it tolerates mild frost and copes well to summer heat.

It strives in rich moist conditions but it will grow thick and strong even in poor soils. The fleshiness of the tubers will be of course impacted – they will be then more fibrous if grown in drier or poorer soils. Still, they will grow long stalks and plenty of leaves.

I am mad about arrowroot! I planted tubers everywhere for different functions. Continue reading “The ultimate permaculture plant – Queensland Arrowroot”