Sunday, March 13, 2011

Planting for Bees and Butterflies

Even if you never pick or use any of your herbs, if you have garden crops that need pollination (zucchini, squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe, etc.), you'll benefit from planting certain kinds of herbs. Bees will be attracted to your garden. Did I see you squirm a bit? Really, bees are great to have around. With real honey bees around, you'll have less wasps. Bees don't sting you unless you act really aggressively towards them OR if you look and smell like a flower. While you and your children are outside, try not to smell too much like a flower (perfume, strong soaps, bubble bath) and don't wear bright colors. That will help.

Go to these websites for some good ideas:

There are some underscores in there that are hard to see, so copy and paste it to get to the right address.

I can tell you right now the wonderful varieties that have brought bees into my garden (and we love them for the great cantaloupe we get every year): Basil, Lemon Balm, Dill, Lavender, Parsley, Thyme, Sage and Mint.
Other varieties suggested are: Bee Balm, Catnip, Cornflower, Echinacea, Goldenrod, Horehound, Hyssop, and Feverfew. I don't know much about these herbs and what climates they like. I guess I have some more to learn.

Another way to attract the bees is to keep them interested and add a few annual herbs each year. By mixing it up, you in essence are adding to your restaurant's desert menu. Regular customers like that.

A third component is to keep a variety of herbs that bloom all season. That keeps the bees coming longer. There are many varieties of bees. Some like certain herbs and others like different ones.

If you plant mint, you MUST put it in a CONTAINER. Do not let that mint get roots in your regular garden area, or you might as well become a mint farmer and throw out all of the rest of your plants. It's much worse than thinking you should plant that whole package of zucchini seeds.

1 comment:

  1. This was great info. Thanks! I had no idea about the mint. And I definitely want to try planting for butterflies this year. Hopefully I'll have a balcony ;)


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