In this case, ‘good’ means attracting pollinators to your garden. In case you have forgotten, pollinators are essential to our survival. That sounds pretty dramatic, but when you recall your elementary earth science class, you remember that almost ALL of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators! According to the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, ‘pollinators provide service to over 180,000 plants and more than 1,200 crops … 1 out of ever 3 bites of food you eat is available because of pollinators’. Without pollinators, our food supply would be in peril.
There is GOOD SCIENCE that clearly shows that pollinator populations are in decline: habitat loss means that this vital population is losing nesting and feeding habitats. Pollution, climate change, disease as well as the misuse of chemicals have all contributed to this worrisome state of affairs, and the need for action is clear.
There are so many simple steps that we can all take to help: on our farm, we are deliberately planting more and more natural habitat areas filled with native species. Turning a portion of your fields back to green spaces can actually increase overall yields. It’s a win win! Home gardens can be turned into pollinator gardens with the addition of plants that are necessary to their survival.
Honestly, this is such an easy job, and some of the steps include:
- Growing plants that are native to your region; check out this incredible resource from Pollinator Partnership: http://pollinator.org/guides. These guides will help you pick the plants that are native to your area, and provide nectar for the adults and food for larvae.
- Design your garden for a CONTINUOUS succession of plant flowering for as long as your zone allows.
- Pollinators need water, so make sure to have a constant supply in a shallow container.
- Feed hummingbirds and birds.
- Eliminate the use of pesticides in your yard and garden.
The Growers Exchange has got a greenhouse full of plants that will help – check out our BUTTERFLY attracting plants as well as our BEE friendly plants! Become a part of the solution, and do your part to help ensure the these very important pollinators have a fighting chance.