The idea of growing your own food is getting lots of attention these days, and for many reasons. Tons of people want to do it— to feed their families, their close communities, and themselves, through thick or thin. To put it mildly though, we’re in a bit of a rough spot when it comes to growing our own food (or using any type of agriculture, for that matter). If you’ve watched The Need to GROW then you already know we’re losing the very topsoil we need to actually grow any food at all, at an alarming rate. But that’s not the only thing we’re losing. We’re also losing pollinators: bees, butterflies, and plenty other wildlife that keep our gardens going strong and producing a bounty of foods. Without pollinators, our food system is in serious trouble.
Even if we had all the topsoil in the world, it wouldn’t much matter! Many of earth’s most important pollinators, including honeybees, are what keep agriculture and gardening going. They keep us fed, in addition to supporting the overall cycles which increase the nutrients in soil and plants. Despite this, pollinators are being harmed and killed at an unsettling speed: by agricultural chemicals, habitat loss, and other human caused reasons. And just like with our precious topsoil, it won’t be long until it’s too late to restore their populations — and the whole world faces the consequences! But if you have a garden of your own (and even a few potted plants on a balcony can count!), there is definitely something you can do in order to slow down this tragedy: and that’s to grow and nurture your own pollinator-friendly plants. These attract, provide food, and give shelter to some of our most important pollinators around us. You can grow these yourself and do your part protecting pollinators in your very own garden!
Mint family plants.
If you wish to especially take care of honeybees near your area, be sure to grow mint plants and their close relatives. Bees find them irresistible. These include mint, catnip, bee balm, lavender, and even popular culinary herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
Especially in midwestern America, prairie plants are a huge draw to butterflies. Monarch butterflies, for example, are vital pollinators around the Western Hemisphere and pollinate all too many important wild plants, but they’re especially helpful to your garden plants, too. If you live in a good climate for prairie plants, it’s highly recommended you grow plants like milkweed, echinacea, and butterfly weed to help protect them.
No matter where you live, it’s more than likely the native wildflowers of your locale do their own part providing and protecting for your local pollinators: whether they’re bees, butterflies, or even birds or wasps. That said: take care of your wildflowers! Do this by growing more of them near your garden, preserving the areas near you that are home to them. You’re not just protecting the earth when you help pollinators. You’re protecting yourself and future generations.