Dreams of a summer garden filled with the fragrance of flowers and the taste of fresh veggies are only made more complete by the happy buzz of pollinators. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been dreaming a lot lately to take my mind off of winter. I do this a lot while planning my garden and starting my seeds.
Whenever I do garden planning, pollinators are at the top of my list. Besides the obvious benefits they provide to fruit and vegetable production, they seem to add numerous other benefits. The pollinators I plan for often bring along a host of unintended pollinators and beneficial insects. It seems like the species diversity is self perpetuating and the result is a healthy garden. There is something about the sights and sounds of insects that draws me closer to the garden and often keeps me there longer than usual. It helps keep me in tune with what’s going on and I even pull a few weeds while I’m there.
There are some important things to think about when planning plantings for pollinators:
NO PESTICIDES! It doesn’t matter if they’re conventional or organic; most are not selective enough to avoid good insects while controlling the bad.
Bloom period: Look over all your choices and pick a group of plants that will bloom in each season. Some pollinator-friendly plants bloom all season and some bloom for a given period of time then are green the rest of the season. Be sure to choose some that bloom early, mid-season, and late summer to fall. This way you’ll keep your pollinators, and the benefits they bring, all season long.
Placement of your pollinator plants should be a priority. Position the plants in groups so that they’re easier to find and try to compose each group to have some blooms all season long. Imagine these groups as “pollinator pastures”. Place them evenly around your space to create a scenario where pollen and nectar are never hard to find.
Put all of these tips together and you’ll ‘bee’ surprised at the amount and diversity of pollinators you attract. Next comes the fun part, choosing plants. A mix of annuals and perennials will ensure you the diversity necessary to make the most of your pollinator pursuits.
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