By now most of us are aware of the plight of the pollinators and their falling numbers. Human impact on pollinators is undeniable; whether it’s loss of habitat, pesticides, or climate change our fingerprints are all over the crime scene. That being said, looking at this situation through guilty lenses gets us nowhere at all, let’s put some positive, proactive energy into this. We can start by giving back and helping restore some of their habitats in a clean and healthy way. Planting a pollinator garden is a great way to ensure that our bees, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators are getting the foods they need and ultimately our very own food supply! We can garden anywhere, it’s just a matter of knowing what will work for your situation.
Now, suppose you don’t have a lot of time to garden or perhaps like me, you just don’t have the space. Suppose you don’t have a much of a yard or no yard at all, maybe just a deck or porch. That’s where small-scale gardening comes in. We can create a small pollinator friendly garden using what little space we have available to us and still do our part to be helpful.
Before we start, make sure the area you plan on using is suitable – does it get good sunlight, is the drainage good, the soil, etc.? Next, choose plants that are native to your area, these will be the plants that your pollinators have evolved to coexist with. Pollinators will not only feed from these plants, but in many cases live among them. You can even help by providing nesting sites for them that can blend into your garden. Finally, avoid using pesticides; not only could they harm the very creatures you are trying to protect; they could reduce pollen and nectar production in plants.
Now, we should be ready to plant. When planting, plant densely, this will fill your limited space and help to keep weeds from growing as well as giving your pollinators places to hide. Planting vertically helps too, use a trellis or lattice that plants and vines can grow up. On decks, patios, or porches use containers for plants. Larger containers will not only let you plant more but will also allow roots to grow more and the soil to remain damp longer. Always water potted plants regularly as they do tend to dry out quicker. Fill your space with a variety of colorful and useful plants, give yourself and your pollinating guest something to enjoy.
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