Attract Pollinators to your Vegetable Garden
Pollinators are essential to our food supply and the health of our planet. Luckily, attracting these beneficial creatures to your vegetable garden is easier than you might think. Here are some tips and tricks to bring in more pollinators to your garden and help support their populations:
Design an Inviting Garden Environment
- Provide Shelter – Pollinators need shelter from wind, rain, and extreme temperatures, so it’s important to provide them with cover. Trees, shrubs, tall grasses, and other natural plants are great for providing shelter for the pollinators.
- Flowers and Nectar – Consider planting a combination of annuals, perennials, and native wildflowers for a continual bloom. Each plant should attract different pollinators, so you can attract a diverse range of useful insects.
- Habitat Diversity – Vary the types of plants in your garden to create a habitat that is rich and varied. Invite pollinators with mixtures of flowers, shrubs, trees, and tuck away brush piles or dead logs which offer shelter and a source of food.
- Provide Water – Pollinators need a source of water and may be attracted to places with tall grasses, shrubs, and flowers that provide a good supply of moisture. Provide water in birdbaths, natural ponds, or shallow dishes.
- Avoid Pesticides – Many pesticides are toxic to pollinators, and can kill them or make them sick. If you must use a pesticide, try to target only the affected plants and be sure to use one that is labeled as safe for pollinators.
Invite Pollinators to your Garden
- Hang Houses and Nesting Ages – Many different types of pollinators like to nest in specific places. Hang up houses for bees and butterflies, place nesting materials for mason bees, and leave logs and sticks with holes for solitary bees and beetles.
- Provide a Breeding Ground – Pollinator nesting sites not only need a place to lay eggs, they also need somewhere to feed. Provide a variety of nectar sources such as clover, alyssum, and goldenrod, as well as areas of low-growing flowering shrubs, grasses, and herbs.
- Attract Insects with Food – In addition to providing nectar for pollinators, you can also attract other insects to your garden with bait plants. These plants serve as a food source for a variety of beneficial insects, like praying mantis, ladybugs, and green lacewings, which can help keep pests at bay.
By taking the time to create a hospitable environment and providing resources for pollinators, you can attract them to your garden and help support their populations. Once you have the right foundation in place, you’ll be able to enjoy a vibrant and healthy vegetable garden.