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Create a Pollinator Garden

What you can do? Tips for Creating a Pollinator Friendly Garden Habitat

By planting a pollinator-friendly garden you are making a difference for honey bees, bumble bees, other bees and pollinators that bring us 1 in every 3 bites of food.
Establishing habitat can be challenging but there are certain things you can do to make it easier and more successful. You are probably aware of many of the points listed below; use what is helpful to your site and disregard what is not.

SITE SELECTION

  • Choose a sunny location.
  • Pick a site that has water access; most plantings usually need water for at least the first few weeks while they establish.
  • Start with a manageable size for YOU to plant and maintain – a window box is enough if that is what works for you.
  • Look for sites that are protected from strong wind.
  • Provide nearby ground nesting sites with bare ground or debris (don’t be too tidy!) and wood nesting sites with wood blocks.
  • Provide a source of water.

PLANT SELECTION – PLANTS VS. SEEDS

  • Seeds will take longer to provide habitat, but they can cover more ground and cost less.
  • Select native plants whenever possible (the FREE ecoregional planting guides at www.pollinator.org are really helpful for all!)
  • The plants you select must provide nectar for carbohydrate and pollen for protein to the pollinators.
  • Different floral shapes and colors will attract different pollinators.  The Pollinator Partnership’s Ecoregional Guides will help identify pollinator needs.
  • Monarch butterflies require regionally specific milkweeds on which they will lay their eggs, and also nectar supplying plants to fuel their flights.
  • Though native plants are most helpful to local ecosystems and  pollinators; here is a list of plants that do pretty well everywhere and are widely available:
  • Lavandula spp. (Lavender)
    Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
    Salvia spp. (Sage)
    Echinacea spp. (Coneflower)
    Helianthus spp. (Sunflower)
    Cercis spp. (Redbud)
    Nepeta spp. (Catnip)
    Penstemon spp. (Penstemon)
    Stachys spp. (Lamb’s ears)
    Verbena spp. (Verbena)
    Phacelia spp. (Bells or Phacelia)
    Aster spp. (Aster)
    Rudbeckia spp. (Black-eyed Susan)
    Origanum spp. (Oregano)
    Achilliea millefolium (Yarrow)

 

PLANTING/SEEDING INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Plant like plants together – pollinators like large targets to find their source of food.
  • Plan for continuous bloom throughout the growing season so that a good food source is always in bloom.
  • Once you get your seed, store it in a cool dry place until you are ready to seed. Never store seed in a car, plastic bag or outside.
  • If you are uncertain, check the pH of your soil. For forge seed germination and establishment, the pH should be between 5.0 and 7.0. An inexpensive pH meter can be used to conduct this test. Remove all weeds and other debris from the pollinator buffer site.
  • Remove all grassy areas before seeding.
  • Evenly scatter the seed throughout.
  • If deer are a problem, install a deer fence.
  • Cover the newly scatter seed with no more than 1/4” of soil.
  • Water the newly seeded pollinator buffer weekly for 4-6 weeks post-seeding (if it is extremely hot and dry, water more frequently).

 

MAINTENANCE AND BEYOND

  • Be sure to have an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program in order to eliminate the impact of pesticides on pollinators.  Access to clean forage is critical to pollinator health.
  • Register your pollinator habitat – no matter what the size – on the Pollinator Partnership’s SHARE site (Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment).  You can create an account there and upload photos or videos of your pollinator garden.  You will locate your pollinator garden on a Google map that can be visited and updated again and again and connects you to all the “pollinator people” across the United States who are “sharing” a part of their neighborhood for pollinators.

Courtesy – http://pollinator.org/million-pollinator-garden-challenge.htm

Earth Day 2017

WHEN IS EARTH DAY 2017?

This observance always falls on April 22. On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, and companionship with nature! Walk through the woods in search of emerging wildflowers and green moss. Go outside, no matter what the weather!

WHAT IS EARTH DAY?

Ever wondered how Earth Day started? This observance arose from an interest in gathering national support for environmental issues.

In 1970, San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson separately asked Americans to join in a grassroots demonstration. McConnell chose the spring equinox (March 21, 1970) and Nelson chose April 22.

Millions of people participated, and today Earth Day continues to be widely celebrated with events on both dates.

The most common practice of celebration is to plant new trees for Earth Day.

EARTH DAY DATES

Year Earth Day
2017 Saturday, April 22
2018 Sunday, April 22
2019 Monday, April 22

EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES AND IDEAS

Celebrate Earth Day!

Butterfly Earth Day

Earth Day photo dew

EARTH DAY QUOTES AND POETRY

The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again.
The plants suck in the earth and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair.

–Abraham Cowley

Are You Out of Your Gourd

gordIf you love to grow vegetables, but find you can never eat all your garden yields, here’s an alternative to researching new recipes in anticipation of your millionth tomato. Grow some decorative gourds in place of a portion of your usual edible veggies. Decorative gourds have potential as centerpieces, serving bowls, storage containers, birdhouses, and a wide range of children’s craft projects. You might be surprised that professional gourd artists can sell their art for as much as $20,000 and their artwork is displayed in galleries across the nation. If mastering the skills required for fine art gourds is not in your future, then consider the novelty of drying gourds for maracas and giving them to the youngsters in your family.

Once you decide how much time you are willing to devote to a project and your tolerance for crafting, choose the right gourd seeds for your family. Remember that a minimal amount of effort is required to grow small gourds for display in a basket. If you are not interested in growing gourds, but are intrigued by their potential uses, dried gourds can be purchased online anytime. Small decorative gourds are also available at the local farmer markets in late summer/autumn.