This season I'm looking especially to our beloved pollinators, bees & butterflies. I recently watched, Vanishing of the Bees, a fascinating documentary of the plight of the honey bee in this country. Let me just say, I had no idea. Did you know that giant farms are creating farming monoculture, making it hard for bees to survive? That bees are trucked all over the country to pollinate crops because of monoculture? Or that queen bees are artificially inseminated & later killed by pulling off their heads so that a new queen can be introduced to the hive? Did you know that bees are being killed by all the pesticides & herbicides that we use at home and on farms? Yikes!
From what I've learned it is especially important to know what kind of seeds and plants you are planting. Many companies are now selling genetically modified seeds & plants. This means, among other things, that they coat the seed in pesticides or other chemicals. This can potentially kill bees and butterflies, all the good bugs as well as the bad. Then if you eat the plant those pesticides are now in you! Again yikes! I knew some of this before watching, Vanishing of the Bees, but this film really brought it home. (By the way it's available on Hulu.)
So at any rate, this year we're planting a butterfly blend of flowers, Echinacea, Borage & lots of other herbs in hopes to attract loads of bees and butterflies.
You've heard of the bird's eye view, well this is the bean's eye view! I planted these beans weeks ago but it was still a little too cold, so they waited and took their time.
The greens and beets we planted here are coming up & seem happy. I'm interested in experimenting with this bed. I recently watched a video that explained how to create a perennial "food forest" garden. This is a garden that is basically untouched. The veggies are planted and then allowed to go to seed. Mulch, add a little compost, keep moist and leave it alone and when the seeds are ready to sprout they will. This leaves it all to Mother nature. The earth is never turned. The dead plants will keep it composted long term. I wonder if this can work in the desert? I think it will require covering for our Spring winds.
And those Spring winds are most definitely here! I hear the wind howling as I type. I think some row cover will be next on my list of supplies.
The onions, carrots, greens & leeks in this bed are coming up too.
Here's my current project. In my last gardening post I mentioned I had dug out a new bed that was really shady. So far the plants seem happy there, everything is coming up slowly. The rest of this side yard was old dry weeds from last year. I carefully burned them and dug them up & then thought why not plant all along this wall? So I'm currently digging out, sifting the sandy soil & sheet mulching. It's quite a job but I'd rather see flowers and veggies here than weed grass reappear. & I have some interesting squash on their way from Cedar Ring Circle's, Heirloom Seed order! I can't wait to see if they might like this area.
I wish I could turn my sandy, desert yard into beautiful right away! But alas, Mother Nature is teaching me patience. She seems to be saying, a little at a time will do it.
So everyone, watch Vanishing of the Bees. It's so important to have pollinators. It effects not only gardeners & farmers but anybody that wants to eat! Everyone can do their small part to help.