Let’s get back to basics! Are you wondering why you haven’t seen any pollinators this year? Or do you have a plant that always seems to be eaten by insects? Bring nature back with these easy steps and watch the difference!
Grow native(ish) species
- Variation is key (example: too many of the same plant will attract pesky insects, if the plant is known to have an insect issue, plant something nearby that attracts that insect’s predator, or create a home for said predator. A larger range of crops provides a better diet = increase immunities in insects!)
- Focus on who will benefit, not just aesthetics
(example: a field of green grass is beautiful, however, a field of blooming clover can feed mammals (deer), birds (wild turkey), and insects (think pollinators!)
- Oak Trees provide the widest range of North American biota
(example: a few of the animals that feed off of acorns are: deer, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, opossums, blue jays, quail, raccoons, and wood ducks. Over 100 species eat acorns! And that’s not including the pollination of it’s flowers, the habitat it provides for nesting, and many more benefits they bring to their environment!)
Selective weed pulling
- Weeds benefit native pollinators and native insects by providing desirable habitats (example: Monarch caterpillars ONLY eat milkweed, without it, they’d be extinct.)
- They fertilize and assist the nearby plants by bringing back nutrients to the soil
(example: Dandelions are rich in potassium, a must-have for many plants. The extremely long taproot uptakes valuable minerals and other nutrients from the soil.)
- A lot of weeds have edible or medicinal benefits, but do your research, as some can be mistaken for others and are poisonous if ingested.
(example: Plantain has long been considered by herbalists to be a useful remedy for cough , wounds , inflamed skin or dermatitis, and insect bites.)
Let the grass grow!
- Refrain from cutting the grass you’re not walking through.
(example: Longer grasses provide shelter and food. This creates a resting spot for pollinators to collect energy so they do not die from exhaustion. Could make a fun game for kids to explore!)
- Letting grass come to seed will help fill in those ugly bare spots
(example: skip the mowing this week, let the grass grow! Once it’s grown to seeds, you’ll notice pollinators, lady bugs, and more helping spread seeds and feeding the birds which then provide fertilizer to the soil! Nature has a wonderful balance!)
- It is America and we LOVE our manicured lawns, however, just one row on the outside of the yard could make a huge difference!
(example: Is your typical walkway and play area for the kids only a few feet? If so, let the edges grow! After a few weeks, you can take the kids out to explore the world of insects and all of the new life created!)
Create a habitat
- Annoyed with bees all over your backyard pool? Provide watering sources!
(example: Our summers are HOT and insects need water just as much as we do, provide a bird bath or a few cute bowls of water and this will give them an alternative to chlorine pools!)
- Carpenter bees eating your porch? Noticing insects living in strange places like your flower pots? Give them a new home!
(example: citrus oil deters carpenter bees from drilling their nests in your wood, however, they need a home too! Provide alternative places in the yard for them to live! Try creating pollinator motels to help them rest on long journeys.)
Add a pond or water source
- Remember those bees in your pool?
(example: not only will you deter insects from places you don’t want them, you’ll provide a healthier alternative for drinking water and could save a life just trying to make it home!)
- Life starts at the water’s edge!
(example: ever taken a moment to sit near a pond? Birds migrate and create new life, frogs croaking, fish swimming, insects flying above the water, mammals grabbing a drink. There’s so much life to see!)
ADD to the soil with compost
- Everything needs a little boost
(example: This brings nutrients and more food for plants, earth worms and grubs. These will then feed the birds. Biotone is awesome for adding the perfect amount!)
Incorporate solution gardening
- Throw out the RoundUp!
(example: Plant ground covers instead of using chemicals to fight weeds.)
- Don’t bag those fallen leaves!
(example: Use your leaf litter for mulch in the winter, there is nothing better for your plants, or your soil!.)