For small farms that grow a diversity of fruit and vegetables, pollinators can be essential for crop production
A small acreage farm owner can take several practical steps to protect and enhance pollinators. These insects have two basic needs for survival: food and shelter. Pollinators need pollen and nectar throughout the spring, summer, and fall. A best practice for helping pollinators is to plant a mixture of native, perennial plants that provide flowers throughout the growing season.
Pollinator Design Guidelines
- Use native species at the foundation and fill in with non-invasive perennials that provide nectar and pollen sources.
- Select a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the season, (Spring-Fall) as well as plants that support larvae, and species with protective habits (such as grasses and stocky plants).
- Consider the growing habits of the plants when making your selections. You don’t want one plant taking over the garden. Additionally, you want a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of blooms and plants to provide forage for as many native pollinators as possible.
- Create a protective habitat for pollinators to nest by using grasses and stocky plants.
- Create large groupings of one plant to attract pollinators. Do this throughout the garden.
- Plant taller plants in the back or center of the garden.
- Disperse color and bloom time throughout the garden.
- Provide a water source.
- Eliminate or minimize the impact of pesticides.
Submitted By: Anass Banna, Small Farms Agent