Ecosystem of a Garden
Though it may be relatively small, a garden is a complete ecosystem in and of itself. It has the same components as larger, more elaborate ecosystems, and requires the same elements to survive.
An ecosystem is a group of plants and animals that share the same resources and rely on one another for survival. Every ecosystem is made up of three groups of organisms: producers, consumers and decomposers.
A garden's plants are its producers, called so for their ability to produce their own food from sunlight. While the plants in a garden might be the end result for a gardener, they are only the foundation of a garden's ecosystem.
There are two types of consumers in a garden: primary consumers (plant eaters) like caterpillars, bees and butterflies; and secondary consumers (meat eaters) like birds, snakes and spiders.
Fungi, bacteria, insects and worms make up a garden's decomposers. They break down dead organic matter, returning vital nutrients to the soil.
A garden is an engineered ecosystem. The most successful gardeners know how to make its natural processes work for them, and choose the least invasive and most sustainable gardening methods.
Jessica Martinez is a freelance writer from Clayton, North Carolina. As a homeschooling mom, she enjoys writing about education, child development and family issues. Martinez also enjoys researching and writing about subjects she loves: history, art, interior design, gardening and travel.