Things we can do to help hedgehogs

Menshed volunteers building the new raised beds
Menshed volunteers building the new raised beds
From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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Tracey Jones, a community gardener at the Stacey Community Centre, Copnor, talks about what is planned at the centre this year

We are into the new year now and looking ahead to what we will be doing in the community orchard this year.

The orchard is looking very wintery, however, there are some new shoots appearing already as we have had such a mild winter so far.

Our winter vegetables are doing well in our raised beds.

We are growing broad beans, garlic, onions and Brussel sprouts.

We are having a winter pruning workshop on Wednesday, February 3 from 10.30am until midday in the Stacey Community Orchard for anyone who would like to learn how to winter prune their fruit trees and fruit bushes.

There have been some large raised beds built at the Stacey Centre and these are going to be planted with vegetables, fruit and herbs.

We have teamed up with the local Portsmouth Friends of the Earth Group who are looking for areas around town where bee-friendly plants can be grown.

They will be known as Bee Worlds and we are having one here at the Stacey Centre.

One of our volunteers watched Hedgehog Hotel over the Christmas holiday and it has inspired us to build hedgehog homes for the orchard.

Our Menshed project here at the Stacey Centre will be able to help us.

There are many things we can all do to help hedgehogs, such as not dropping litter, like the plastic four-can packholders and elastic bands, as these can strangle them, and not using slug pellets and wood preserver as both can kill hedgehogs.

There is a new product called Grazers which repels slugs and snails.

This, and environmentally friendly water-based wood preserver products, can be found at organiccatalogue.com or a garden centre may sell them.

Do not feed hedgehogs milk and bread as this can really harm them.

It is okay to feed them small amounts of cat or dog food though (either the type in jelly or the biscuits).

Leave an area of the garden a bit untidy with leaves and twigs as they will make a nest in here and always remember to check a bonfire before you light it as they could be underneath.

If you are concerned about a hedgehog or any other wildlife and want advice then call the Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital at Sidlesham on 01243 641672.

To enquire about what is happening at the Stacey centre please call (023) 9287 0628.

n Stacey Community Orchard is located at Walsall Rd, Portsmouth PO3 6HT