When was the last time you ” unplugged” and just sat outside, without a cell phone, or laptop, or music playing in your head…to just listen to nature? We all have become so disconnected from the natural world that it is effecting our health. This new disorder is known as Nature Deficit Disorder, but that is another post some day. If we do not get outside, turn off our electronic world we will one day have no choice, but to pay attention, for what you eat will no longer be, and it will be too late to make a difference!There is a world that is only visible up close, if you take the time to sit and be still, you will hear the pollinators of our world. They move around us all day long, and we do not even bid them a good morning as we dart to and from our homes.Do you even breath as you race all day long?
I have to admit, for many years, I did not breath, took for granted the beauty around me and one day, I was forced to slow down.I had NO CHOICE but to pay attention, for my health was dependent on “pesticide” free organic food. That was back in 2000 and since that “wake-up call,” I have been trying to get the word out to others that we need to care about how our food is grown and help the “pollinators” around us get the job done. I have written posts before and will continue to remind people periodically, about how Mother Nature is waving her red flag do you see it??? It is a subject dear to my heart, for since I have been creating a pollinator friendly habitat in my own Urban Potager, I have found each year new visitors arrive. All the pollinators work together to keep our small city lot filled with activity from spring to late fall! Natures “Pollinator Symphony” is playing all day long, right out my door and there is no better music in the world!
According to the NRCS ” There are approximately 200,000 different species of animals around the world that act as pollinators….of these, about 1000 are vertebrates, such as birds, bats and small mammals, and the rest are invertebrates, including flies,beetles, butterflies, moths and bees.” These native pollinators are needed by us to pollinate ( almost 90%) of the plants that are in our environment. Up to 75% of our food, natural resources and medicines we use daily is provided to us by pollinators. Our pollinators need our help.Surely we can integrate our life with theirs…can’t we?
Our native pollinators are struggling in our city areas, and we can make a difference by just creating a habitat that can help them, feed us, and create our own “pollinator symphony!” When I sit outside, close my eyes on a sunny fall day, I hear natures “Symphony” for it just hums with action from early dawn to dusk. Every morning I wake to the birds singing outside my window from spring to fall. As I sit in my garden on a warm fall day, a humming-bird zips past me. Bees of all different sizes hum all day long as they float from flower to flower, I can hear our native chipmunks chatter to all their friends as they scurry across the paths and sometimes a butterfly mistakes me for a plant and lands right on my shoulder!
The USDA Forest Service provides an excellent site to help you get started creating your own habitat for pollinators. When creating your “pollinator symphony” you need to start plants that provide for your pollinators throughout the growing season and their life cycles. It all works together in perfect harmony and it just hums all summer long with activity!
You do not need much space. Just get outside and start in a small area. I started in one corner of my yard back, in 2003 which at the time was no larger than 10 x 10. I started with a few cherry tomatoes, peppers,and greens. I am sure you have some time + space to do that, don’t you? Shut down your computer, turn off your tv and go outside and look around where you live.
Check out the list from the Wildlife Habitat Management Institutes (NRCS) of some food you might like to grow outside your door.The Xerces Society is a great resource of lists of native plants for a variety of areas all over the world. Find your location and research the best plants to attract native pollinators to your area.
Legumes and Beans, Cowpea, Lima Beans, Lupines, Mung Bean/Green or Golden Gram, Soybean
Vegetables Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cantaloupes, Carrot, Cauliflower,
Celeriac, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Green Pepper, Leek, Lettuce, Okra, Onion,
Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Rutabaga, Squash, Tomato, Turnip, White Gourd
Fruits, berries Almonds, Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cacao, Cashew, Cherry, Chestnut,
and nuts Citrus, Coffee, Coconut, Crabapple, Cranberry, Currant, Date, Fig, Gooseberry, Grapes,
Guava, Huckleberry, Kiwi, Kolanut, Litchi, Macadamia, Mango, Olive, Papaw, Papaya,
Passionfruit, Peach, Pear, Persimmon, Plum, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Strawberry, Tung,
Herbs and Allpsice, Anise, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Chive, Clove, Coriander, Dill, Fennel,
spices Lavender, Mustard, Nutmeg, Parsley, Pimento, Tea, White Pepper
Oils, seeds and Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Canola, Flax, Oil Palm, Safflower, Sesame, Sunflower
Clover and rel- Alsike Clover, Arrowleaf Clover, Ball Clover, Berseem Clover, Black Medic/Yellow Trefoil,
atives Cider Milkvetch, Crimson Clover, Lespedeza, Peanut, Persian Clover, Red Clover, Rose
Clover, Strawberry Clover, Subterranean Clover, Sweet Clover, Trefoil, Vetch, White Clover
Other Cotton, Kenaf
If you find a few crops you might like to grow, start small. I know every inch of my yard is filled, but keep in mind, I have been building this for over a decade. I started out in one corner of my yard, back in 2000. It takes time to ponder what you want to grow and believe me when you taste the food you grow; you will never want to NOT grow your own! Be patient and listen to your own ” pollinator symphony” from spring to fall + they will let you know what plants they need to do their work. Once you “unplug” + get outside creating your outdoor space, you will feel good about how you are helping the native pollinators do their job, for together, with them, you will be keeping your family, friends, and neighbors healthy!
If you take the time to watch the pollinators working, they hardly stay still long enough for you to capture them, but all of them are important,
So the encore will be next year…..start “planting” for a great show!