Growing our own food puts us in direct relationship with a wide variety of animals, birds, insects and other organisms that depend on our gardens and allotments for food and habitat. Many of these creatures can help us to grow productively by feeding on pests, working the soil and carrying out pollination. Birds are always hungry and need to feed themselves and their young. Insects like hoverflies, bees and ladybugs are a pleasure to see on our flowers and they all offer invaluable services to gardeners. Worms and micro-organisms are an army of diggers, recyclers and nutrient providers that is constantly improving the quality of our soil. Make a note of these important allies and encourage them where you can.