Attracting Pollinators To Your Garden

It’s great to have a vegetable garden and have the anticipation of fresh veggies when they come into season. But if you don’t have pollinators such as bees, butterflies, birds and beetles to go from flower to flower , you won’t have much yummy food to take out of your garden. Pollinators are an important part of making a garden productive. Attracting them to your yard is vital to the process. 

If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has a lot of natural pollinators, you may not have to do much. But if you are establishing a new garden or live in an area that has used pesticides, you’ll have to work a little harder to bring in the pollinators. 

First a word on pesticides, most of them kill pollinators. Even the natural and organic ones still harm beneficial insects. Please be careful in using them. Follow package instructions on when to apply them. Or find other ways to control pests such as companion planting or hand smushing the harmful insects. Inviting beneficial insects to your garden will help too. 

Now On To The Tips

  1. Plant flowers. This seems so simple. Bees and other pollinators are attracted to the colors and smells in flowers. Try to plant at least some native plants as the pollinators are most adapted to what is already naturally growing in your area. This can be easily accomplished by leaving a section of your yard ‘wild.’ Don’t mow it. You’ll grow dandelions, buttercup, and other wild flowers here. The bees will LOVE it! If you don’t have the space for that planting a flower bed or putting a few flowering perennials in your vegetable garden will make bring the pollinators in so that when you zucchini flowers, the insects are already there and ready to pollinate.
  2. Provide water and shelter in your yard for the pollinators. This may mean keeping a bird bath with a few marbles in it so the bees can get a drink. Put out feeders for the hummingbirds(change the sugar/water in it regularly). Some bees appreciate housing provided for them. Do what you can provide for the other needs of pollinators and they will see your yard and garden as an inviting place to be. 
  3. Avoid use of herbicides and pesticides in your yard as much as you can. As mentioned above, very few pesticides are safe for pollinators. And herbicides kill off the native flowers pollinators visit. So-called weeds, like dandelion are some of the first flowers of spring. The bees need them to get started on their very important job. Plus every part of the dandelion is useful either medicinally or culinarily for people

Obviously, attracting pollinators is a very important part of gardening. We need these important creatures to want to visit our yard. Doing what you can to attract them will make your vegetable garden more productive and a happier place to be. 

Hey, have you heard our episode on getting the kids interested in gardening? Listen to that HERE

For more information on pollinators and how you can help protect them check out THIS website. They have tons of great information on pollinators.


Author: Ellyn

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