Have your vegetable plants stopped flowering? Are you dissatisfied with the meagre amount of vegetables that your plants are yielding despite the blooming of plenty of flowers?
Chances are that your garden is not getting regular visits from some very important creatures called pollinators that are a must for the development of fruits and vegetables in plants. To solve this problem you must try attracting pollinators to vegetable gardens using some really simple and effective ways.
From providing you with a blast of freshness in an otherwise mechanical life to supplying healthy and tasty vegetables to your dinner table, a garden at home can change your life in ways you cannot imagine.
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But in order to create a beautiful garden having healthy plants teeming with life in it, you would have to work hard as nurturing any form of life requires a great deal of patience and care. Gardening is not just about planting seeds and harvesting the yield.
Sometimes you might notice that despite ample flowers blooming at the right time, your vegetable plants are not giving you the expected harvest. This problem occurs commonly when there are not enough pollinators in your garden, resulting in the dropping off of flowers.
Pollinators like bees and butterflies are a must for a good harvest. To solve this issue, the easiest way is to plant pollinator-attracting plants in your vegetable garden.
Not sure how to go about the process? Do not worry, for this article has everything you need to know for being able to attract the pollinators to your garden. So read on and find out.
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What are Pollinators and Why You Need Them?
Pollinators are insects and animals that move pollen from the anther of a flower to the stigma of another flower. Birds, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, bees, bats, and many other animals serve as pollinators, drinking nectar or feeding off of pollen from flowers and transporting the pollen grains in the process.
Any gardener would know how disheartening it is to find only a handful of harvest, or sometimes not even that, after having seen the whole garden full of blooming flowers. This situation can leave home gardeners distraught with utter confusion as it could have been caused by a large number of diseases.
Especially when there is no sign of any other abnormality, this condition is most commonly caused by a lack of pollinating agents or pollinators. Many fruits and vegetables need pollinators for the fertilization of the flowers so that fruits and vegetables can be produced. Although some plants are self-pollinating, the majority of the common fruits and vegetables are not.
Pollinators look for two things while visiting a garden- pollen and nectar. Both of these are delicious treats for bees and other insects. Flowers are their only source of these treats that they absolutely relish.
So if your garden is being deprived of the visits of these helpful creatures, something must be done. In the absence of enough pollinators, your flowers would dry and drop off the plants before fruit formation can take place.
Lack of pollinating agents can occur because of a lot of reasons. If the number of bees or other insects in your region is low or has decreased due to an imbalance in the environment, you are sure to face this trouble. Without these hard workers, your garden would not be able to yield you a flavorful summer tomato or a spicy pepper when you want them.
Therefore, the problem has to be solved. If enough pollinators are not naturally attracted to your garden, you have to take the matter into your own hands. To ensure that your garden has a satisfying yield at the end of the growing season, attract pollinators to your garden.
This task is not as simple as it might sound. Many gardeners find tricky and confusing. There are several ways of making sure that these busy insects keep paying your garden regular visits. Read on to find out some of the best ways of attracting pollinators to your garden.
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How to Attract Pollinators to Your Vegetable Garden?
You must by now be wondering what the trick behind attracting bees and other pollinators to your garden? Well, you can stop being worked up. Some simple steps are all you need to attract the pollinators towards your vegetable garden.
Plant some bees attracting plants for the vegetable garden to get them to visit your garden regularly.
Listed below are some of the easiest ways to achieve this goal. Take a look.
Plant Certain Flowers
The most effective step to attract pollinators to your garden is definitely planting flowers. Bees, butterflies, and other insects are most interested in flowers because of the nectar and pollen they offer. However, bees and butterflies are not completely impartial when it comes to flowers. They do prefer some flowers over the others.
Flowers that are bright in color catch their attention quickest and so are the most appealing to them. Bell-shaped flowers that provide easy access to nectar are also particular favourites among them. Try to plant such flowers in your garden to catch the attention of bees and butterflies who would keep paying regular visits once they have found the reservoir of gorgeous and bright flowers.
Flowers like sunflower, bee balm, salvia, butterfly weed, butterfly bush, snapdragon, blanket flower, and marigold would work the best. While selecting flowers to plant in a vegetable garden to attract bees, keep in mind that bees and butterflies like flowers with vibrant and bright petals. Some small clusters of tomato blossoms and squash flowers would never be able to do the trick for you.
Consider planting Milkweed. This gorgeous plant is the sole food source for a specific variety of butterflies, called the Monarch butterflies, and therefore are sure to attract those beneficial insects.
Plant Native Flowers
If you have any doubts regarding which flowers to plant, always go for the flowers native to your region. Bees, butterflies, and other insects are most attracted to flowers that are native to the region they belong to.
With rapid industrialization and the conversion of jungles and grasslands into living spaces, the environmental balance has been disrupted.
Insects like these are therefore deprived of their food, which drastically reduces their number in the region. To attract these insects to your garden, you, therefore, have to help re-establish this balance by planting native flower plants in your garden to provide them with a source of food.
It is best to include diverse flowers in the garden to ensure that a large variety of these beneficial creatures pay you frequent visits.
Plant Flowers in Large Groups
After you have selected some plants that attract bees and butterflies, you have to ensure that you plant them right. Planting the plants in the right locations and in the proper manner is really important for you to succeed.
Some scattered flower plants here and there in the garden would do you no good. A beautiful flower border might soothe your eyes, but it is useless for a bee. Try planting large beds of flowers with vibrant colors to make them visible to the bees. A large patch of flowers from the same species would go a long way in attracting the attention of the insects.
Also, try to use a variety. Do not just stick to a single species of flowers. Use a wide range of vibrant, large-sized, and wide flowers to ensure that your target is fulfilled. Put up large flower-beds of diverse flowers in, around, or near your garden so that the bees come to visit. Bees keep visiting regions with an ensured and secure food source, so you will never be out of pollinators again.
Provide Shelter to the Bees
Quite contrary to popular opinion, all bees do not live in hives. Most bees are solitary wanderers, making nests in the ground, wooden blocks, or tree trunks.
Females of various species dig up small holes in the ground and lay only a single egg. Certain other species look for creeks, holes, and openings to build their nest in.
Gardeners often use thick layers of mulches and landscape fabric to beautify their gardens. This makes the garden a very unfavourable place for bees to build their nests, as a result of which they do not help in pollinating those gardens.
To ensure bees can build nests in your garden, leave at least half of the garden floor uncovered for bees to call it home. When the atmosphere is convenient for them to live in, bees would invariably feed on the pollen of your vegetable plants and help in their pollination.
Provide a source of water in the garden to attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. You can also set up a birdbath, a fountain, a catch basin for collecting rainwater, or a simple bowl to act as a source of freshwater. This would bring in birds, butterflies, bees, and moths to your garden.
You can also set up food dispensaries for hummingbirds and other kinds of birds to encourage them to keep visiting.
To encourage more insects to visit your garden every day, be sure not to use pesticides. Pesticides are not selective. While killing dangerous pests like aphids, they would also kill off the ladybugs, bees, and butterflies that visit your garden. The pesticides remaining on the leaves would also kill any future pollinator visiting later.
Flowers to Plant in Vegetable Garden To Attract Bees
Who doesn’t like colorful flowers with a magnificent fragrance? If you plant flowers that hold enough nectar to attract the little pollinators to your garden then it’s a double jackpot for you.
There are many excellent looking flowers with enough nectars to attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Some of them are mentioned below:
1. Borage: this magnificent plant houses star-shaped flowers of blue colour. They attract insects, especially bees. It does not take much space in your garden and can also be used as herbs for cooking.
2. Butterfly Bush: if you are going for a long haul then butterfly bush is the perfect plant for you. It can grow about 8 feet tall and takes about that much space. But planting one or two of these plants in your garden can bring a lot of butterflies and hummingbirds that will speed up the pollination process.
3. Coneflower: this beautiful flower can also attract a lot of bees and butterflies. It is a 2-feet tall plant and holds a lot of sweet nectar that attracts pollinators.
4. Others: some of the other pollinators that you can use are Dahlia, Daisy, lavender, Goldenrod, Milkweed, Marigold Sunflower, etc.