Honeybees have been disappearing in record
numbers. And they are not the only
pollinators that are imperiled. Some
butterflies and native bees have experienced
significant population declines. It was just
a few years ago that homeowners were asking
what they could plant that would not attract
bees. Now, the question is more likely to
be, “How can I attract bees and other
pollinators to my garden?”
are a diverse and fascinating group of
invertebrates and we have them to thank for
beautiful blooming meadows, juicy summer
berries, bountiful vegetable gardens, and
colorful pumpkins and gourds. We encourage
all home gardeners to help the cause of
pollinator protection by planting more
flowers and herbs, important food resources for all
kinds of bees and butterflies. Every flower
border, bed, and windowbox helps!
More Articles On Pollinators
You can help the
Great Sunflower Project with research to
understand the challenges that bees are facing by watching and recording the
number and types of pollinators visiting plants (especially sunflowers) in
gardens, school gardens and parks. Our
sunflower is a lovely branching variety particularly attractive to bees.
Order Bee Attracting Flowers and Herbs.
When you use the coupon code FR225A at checkout, we will make a donation of
25% of the total value of your order to the Great Sunflower Project.
This Month's Web Special:
Porcelain Doll's unique pink color makes it a real show stopper!
Besides, their pretty pink exteriors, Porcelain Doll pumpkins have
delicious, deep orange interior flesh, perfect for baked goods, soups or
casseroles. These big beauties start out beige and then turn a standout
coral/pink color as they mature.
Renee's Garden donates $.50 from each Porcelain Doll packet sale to The
Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation, created by pumpkin breeders and growers
to aid in the fight against breast cancer.
Click Here to View & Order
The Foundation provides grants to organizations involved in breast
cancer research and oversees the donations to ensure that the funds go
directly to reputable organizations with the highest percentage of
dollars spent on actual research in the US and Canada.
March in the Trial Garden –
Choosing Cover Crops
We are in the process of choosing a cover crop
mix to offer to our customers as they are so
beneficial in building healthy
soil. They protect the soil from erosion
during the winter months, improve soil
structure, and take up extra nutrients that
would otherwise leach away. At the start of
the growing season, cover crops can be
incorporated back into the soil by
digging/turning them into the soil, so they
break down in about 5-8 weeks, releasing the
captured nutrients back into the soil.
Another option that we utilize here at the
trial garden is to pull the cover crop out
of the ground, adding its biomass (roots,
leaves and stalks) to the compost pile where
it breaks down, so we can then add it back
into the garden beds in the finished
cover crop blends we are evaluating include members of the
legume family that replenish nutrients by
fixing nitrogen from air into their root
nodules. When incorporated back into the
soil or in the composting process, these nodules break down releasing
valuable usable nitrogen into the soil, a
natural fertilizer. Components in the Brassica family have deep tap roots that
mine deep subsoil nutrients and minerals,
and are excellent at breaking up shallow
layers of compacted soils. Oat and rye
grasses have very thick roots which work to
hold the soil protecting it from erosion.
These cover crop components all produce a
great amount of biomass that improves the
soil structure, helping create a soil that
is well-draining, holds onto water, and
resists compaction at the same time.
We are also evaluating different mustard
varieties as “green manure”. Mustards have
very high levels of glucoseinolates that
have a natural fumigating effect in the soil
to help fend off soil dwelling pests and
pathogens. It is the perfect cover crop to
grow after tomatoes, potatoes, basil and
anything affected by soil born pests and
pathogens. Mustard also takes up large
amounts of nutrients that would otherwise be
leached out in winter and releases these
nutrients back into the soil when it is
incorporated – hence the name “green manure”
for this beneficial cover crop. We are planning to introduce the best mustard seed
variety in a new “green manure” Bonus Pack
in late 2013.
We have found our favorite cover crop mix is
a combination of Winter Rye, Austrian Peas,
Purple Top Turnips, Daikon Radish, Vetch and
Pacific Gold Mustard. This blend of plants
that is beneficial for the soil cover the
ground with a blanket of green all winter.
We plan to introduce the seed blend in late
2013 as a Scatter Garden Canister that will
cover 600 to 700 Sq. Ft.