Photo: roger.moffatt (Flickr)
Garden Guest List
You’re not the only one visiting your garden. You have a plethora of animals that enjoy regular visits, and not all of them are pesky marauders – lucky for you!
Spending all your time chasing squash bugs and plucking hornworms may prove a rewarding challenge (and keep you on your toes) but it’s not what you had in mind when you started this venture. You wanted to reap fresh produce and lots of it!
A Little Help From My Friends
However, in order to achieve these results you’ll need a little help.
But not as in, “Hey kids, it’s time to weed the garden!” Or maybe, “Honey, could you mow a nice border around the garden?”
Nah. Not family help (though they do come in handy and are quite helpful when it comes to garden chores). I’m talking pollinators! You know, Mother Nature’s army of busy bees, and butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats…
They’re all important visitors to your garden for whom you’ll want to throw out the red carpet because they make your life easy and your garden fruitful – make that plentiful for you folks determined not to buy one single veggie from your grocer’s shelves. Pollinators are very important and from now on, should be regarded as VIPs.
Photo: hynkle (Flickr)
Take Your Shoes Off And Stay A While
How do you get pollinators to hang around your garden?
Ask a kid! They know the answer to this one. You lure them in with sweets and scents and wonderfully bright colors, kind of like pink cotton candy or a triple scooped cone of rainbow colored ice creams. Kids are all over this stuff!
If you plant bunches of flowers in a variety of sizes, shapes, scents and colors you will indeed attract your pollinators. For example, hummingbirds are easily swayed by the sweet sip of red “nectar.” Just pour it into your feeder and let the hovering begin!
And don’t forget the bats. Build them a cozy den and they will be the guests that never leave. (Some refer to this as a bat house, but we want our bats to feel like part of the family, so we call it a den.)
Photo: yaquina (Flickr)
Make A House A Home
Pollinators don’t like to venture far from home, so create a habitat in your backyard that will encourage them to stay. Trust me, your plants will thank you.
While you’re planting and luring your VIPs, be sure to include some water. They do get thirsty and you don’t want them flitting off to find their water source elsewhere. Who knows? They might find it in the neighbor’s garden and start pollinating their plants instead of yours!
One good way to keep them close is a bird bath. Nothing wrong with birds in an around the garden, right? I hear they eat grasshoppers.
Or toads for that matter. These guys definitely like to gorge on garden pests, so why not build them their very own toad house?
Do you have any broken terra cotta pots lying around? Flip them over and position the pots so there is a small entry way in and you have the perfect toad bungalow.
Make Your Own Worm Bin
Photo: jarsyl (Flickr)
But don’t stop there! Time to go underground and give a shout out to those wriggly worms living down there. Plants love them and we need them to enrich the soil with delicious nitrogen.
Can’t find any? Import them with your very own worm bin – er, wormery lodge. You do want them to feel welcome, cozy and cherished as any VIP does, and it’s easier to manage than you think.
- Simply find an old box or purchase a plastic storage bin and drill some holes in the top and around the sides.
- Line the interior with fine mesh screen so the worms can’t escape through the holes – as if they would even want to.
- Next you’ll shred some newspaper and lay it across the bottom. Include a bit of dirt and some leftover food scraps, like greens, breads, eggshells, and coffee grounds.
- Then wet the combination down (think damp sponge), add red wriggler worms and voilà! The Wormery Lodge is open for business!
Oh, how I do love a good host. Does that make me the hostess with the most’est?
More: What’s next? It’s time to talk about smart maintenance of your garden, like weeding, watering, and pruning.