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how to start a vegetable garden
food crops
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pollinators
How To Start A Vegetable Garden - 30 Day Challenge - The Great Pollinators
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How To Start A Vegetable Garden  -  30 Day Challenge  -  The Great Pollinators

Day 26: How to Start a Vegetable Garden

Welcome! I hope all of your gardens have prospered well since my last article.

I have been busy with my Garden Journal this week. Each day, I provide an update on my blog of something that's happening in my garden or something I learned about gardening.

It seems there is always something new to see and learn.

Here are a few of the topics you may have missed: how to thin your carrots, new flowers on my zucchini and potatoes, why my iceberg lettuce isn't producing a head, and tips on keeping rabbits and deer out of your garden.

If you missed any of these topics, check out my blog. A link to my website is in my SA Profile.

Pollination

By now, your plants should be growing bigger and stronger and many of them are producing flowers. However, if your flowers are not pollinated, your plants will not produce fruit.

This can be a major problem for gardeners, so today I want to discuss the good bugs that you WANT in your garden to assist you with pollination.

Honeybees

The honeybee has received a lot of press lately. There are many "save the honeybee" campaigns out there as the increased use of pesticides has affected the delicate ecosystem of the honeybee and we are seeing entire colonies being wiped out.

Honeybees (and other types of bees) are a major contributor to pollination of our farms. Many farms "rent" honeybees for a few weeks to pollinate their crop. According to Pollinator Partnership, bees alone pollinated an estimated $15 billion of US food crops per year including nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables.

A demise of these very useful bees would have disastrous effects on our crops.

Beetles, Flies, and Ants

While beetles can cause some damage to your leaves, they are also useful pollinators. So, think twice before removing them from your garden.

Flies are generally harmless but will carry pollen from one plant to another in their travels.

Ants can be useful in your garden in two ways. They clean your plant leaves and remove unwanted eggs from other bugs. They also pollinate your flowers as they move from plant to plant. Having a large quantity in your garden, however, may indicate the presence of aphids so keep an eye on these bugs.

Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Some of the most beautiful pollinators are butterflies and hummingbirds. Plant flowers that attract these types of visitors near the vegetables you wish to have pollinated and let them help you with your garden!

Attracting Pollinators

June 18-24 is National Pollinator Week. There are lots of fantastic tips on attracting pollinators to your garden and what you can do to help protect your native species of pollinators on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services website.

I, for one, plan to plant some flowers around my vegetable garden to attract more pollinators to my plants.

Top on my list to purchase is marigolds. While they are not one of my favorite flowers from a beauty standpoint, marigolds are the perfect garden companion. Not only do they deter pests, but attract pollinators too!

30 Day Challenge

My 30 Day Challenge is coming to an end. 4 more articles, yet so much more information to discuss about how to start a vegetable garden.

If you have anything you'd like me to include in my final articles, please leave a comment below.

As always, feel free to share this article.


Street Talk

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  about 7 years ago

Very good points AJ. Nice article!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Maria!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Golfspice  

Try planting herbs as well as flowers to attract pollinators. In our garden, I find that bees and butterflies go mad for herbs such as, thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, lavender, chives, mint etc., which can also be used in the kitchen.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Good tips, Golfspice. I have chives and parsley planted now, but wanted to get a few more. I will definitely look into this!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

AJ, your article reminds me that I shouldn't think of bees as pests that should be swatted just because they are nearby. Bees really do have a very important role and I hope myself and others can remember not to swat those bees just because. Great informative article and your blog website looks great too!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Our bees like to make nests in inconvenient places: the mailbox and outside the front door being favorite spots. I am continuing to knock down these nests, but need to set up "bee homes" so I can encourage the bees to live where I want them to. Hopefully in places were my children won't get stung. My kids are so scared of the bees, I'm trying so hard to teach them "bees are good, we want bees, just leave them alone and you will be fine". But the instinct to swat is still there! Thanks for the visit Jay!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Mosquitoes don't like marigolds! I remember that. Good points. Nice article. Didn't think about butterflies and hummingbirds as pollinators. That's great information. Our "butterfly bush" is full of purple flowers. Butterfly visits are increasing.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Golfspice  

Your "butterfly bush" with purple flowers sounds like Buddleia, which we also have in the garden. It attracts butterflies in their droves, particularly on a warm summer's day.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Love it Golfspice. Another plant to check out for my garden! Thanks, and thank you Cynthia for bring it up. I love when you guys teach me something new :)

  
  about 7 years ago

Great info AJ...most years we normally reserve 1/2 to full row to plant different flowers but didn't this year as I needed the space for watermelons...had some giant sunflowers last year.....may expand a row for flowers next year if I decide to plant more melons.. I always wait to late afternoon to spray my plants with the micro nutrients or the soap insecticide....bees and other insect pollinators seem to be more active in the mornings so I try not to do anything to disturb them at that time.....got plenty of bees in my area coming from somewhere....my uncle use to keep bees...His preferred area was soybean fields as they didn't need the use of insecticides much at all... Your zucchini muffin recipe on your Squidoo lens is great...made 32 muffins and working on a couple now...great hit with the family too.....:)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Before researching this article, I was adamant that I didn't want to plant flowers this year because I had enough plants to take care of with my vegetable garden. But after reading all this information, I am now researching which flowers I wish to purchase to add around my garden to bring in more pollinators. I had sunflower seeds that I never got around to germinating and I think it's now too late for seed flowers. Good tip on the timing for micro nutrients and soap insecticide. I need to read more about these micro nutrients... I love the idea of "keeping" bees, but they make me so nervous I don't know if I'd ever be able to do it! I'm so glad you tried my zucchini muffin recipe and loved it! I actually made some today myself (I got 28 out of mine), but only zucchini and walnuts in this batch, no raisins or carrots. They are yummy, especially since the zucchini was from my favorite farm! Local food at it's best!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Another great article AJ. I do so enjoy them. We (read 'my husband') dug our garden over this weekend. I'm not sure we'll plant anything but the soil looks great all turned and no weeds! We have raspberries coming along but I think they tend to take over and have prickles. Still, there's no logic in a gardeners mind when it's something they want to grow! ;-)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Heather, I don't know why my comments never showed! I love that you have raspberries...maybe one day for me too. And you are right, gardeners buy with their heart and then have to figure out what to do with the plants! I know I've got a ton of seeds and bulbs that I just haven't had time to plant. Most are cooler weather plants though, so I'll start those seeds in July.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Great article AJ and I must say I am enjoying your blog page, making notes as I go, love the video clips a brilliant way to go, pictures sometimes mean more than words... great job keep it up... have a few ideas developing for you but will private post... bit busy at the mo with articles and computer program...

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thank you, Rob. Glad you liked my first video (it's a blog on thinning carrots if anyone wants to check it out). It was a little close but otherwise I think it turned out well. I have 3 or 4 more I recorded that I need to see where to upload them to and check their quality...more to come! I look forward to your insight. I really want to take this website to the next level and would love your input (as well as my other tribe members if you care to share advice). Please leave these types of comments on my FB page so we keep the articles clean. Thanks!!!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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