Protecting the bees – A Brief Guide

There is a whopping 90 percent of the plants that rely on pollinators for the purpose of reproduction and fertilization. And of all the pollinators that exist in the world, Bees are in fact, the most important of all these pollinators. But these most important pollinators are in trouble, and these troublemakers are none other than we humans. As a result of widespread urbanization and deforestation, their natural habitats have been destroyed. Not only has the cutting of trees and plants destroyed habitats, but the modern plantation patterns have also changed and have impacted their habitats in a big way as well. The cultivation of mono-crops such as maize, soy, etc. have made our soils full of poisonous chemicals.

Since the pollinators play a very important role in the cultivation and spread of plant vegetation, it is important to protect these pollinators. There are several ways of protecting the Pollinators, which we will discuss in the next section.

Some Suggestions You Could Use

Pollinators are absolutely necessary for the cultivation and growth of winter squash crops – the honeybees are the most required and necessary among them. Since there had been a decrease in the quality of pollination, the overall yields and productions have decreased substantially. Of late, there has been a drastic decline in the population of honeybees. But thankfully, there are steps and measures to protect these pollinators. Listed below are a few suggestions and ways of protecting pollinators. These include:

1. Plant a mix of other herbs and flowers to attract pollinators

It is advised to plant a variety of herbs and flowers in and around the garden so that these flowers and herbs attract a lot of other types of pollinators. This is to ensure that the bees and other pollinating agents are attracted to these plants so that they are available in ample amounts.

2. Use pesticides judiciously

Make sure that the pesticides are used very sparingly and only when it is absolutely required. Using pesticides when bees and other pollinating agents are not so active ensures that they do not get harmed. And they keep coming to your gardens more often.

3. Maintain and keep the garden well-kept

Make sure that your garden is kept well and groomed well so that the flowers keep blooming throughout the garden, attracting more pollinators to your garden. It is a well-known fact that the bees get attracted to the flowers. So keep the flowers blooming and fill your garden with pollinators.

4. Plant various perennial plants

Ensure that you plant a combination of perennial plants such as shrubs, bushes, alliums, trees, alliums, herbs, flowers, etc. These types of plants flower throughout the year in all seasons, and that keeps the bees thronging your garden at all times in every season. So for all those buzzing bees in your garden, consider planting these plants in your gardens.

5. Do not use herbicides

Using herbicides will kill the herbs that are growing in your garden. Try to achieve a meadow look for your lawns by planting a wide range of flowering plants such as alfalfa along with the perennial clover plants.

 Provide bee houses in your yard
Provide bee houses in your yard

6. Provide bee houses in your yard

You can take this additional step to construct bee houses at various portions of your lawn. This could be on a tree just above the stretch where there are flowers in your lawn. Or you can decide to place them across the lawn. This would ensure that they stick around on your lawn. Providing them with a proper shelter also ensures the bees and other pollinators are protected from predators such as birds, reptiles, etc.

7. Arrange for safe feeders for the bees

During the drought season, if the bees and other pollinators do not get ample food, they will have to go to other places in search of food. So, make sure that you provide your bees with food that they are otherwise looking for outside. Provide them with sugar, water, and nectar as food, that they can have their food when they want. Arrange for a safe feeder and provide them with the food. This would ensure that the bees do not go anywhere and are right there in your lawns.

The Conclusion

Pollinators are undoubtedly the most important agents in the cultivation of many crops and plantations, and as such, there is a need to preserve these pollinators.

Using this brief guide, you sure can save and attract pollinators to your lawns and gardens and help in the preservation and protection of the environment. Try these suggestions today and watch your landscapes getting better and beautiful.

When to harvest Yardlong beans

While (Asparagus) Yardlong beans can grow up to 36 inches long, however, it’s best to harvest Yardlong beans at 18 inches or less when Yardlong beans are at their most tender and flavorful.

Benefits Of Having Birdbaths In Your Yard

Birdbaths are not only meant to create attractive focal points, but also attract a plethora of woodland creatures like birds, butterflies, and insects that are beneficial to your backyard. 

This is undoubtedly the easiest and efficient way to entice wildlife to your garden when compared to building birdhouses or planting beautiful flowers. 

Not convinced yet? Among the benefits of adding a few birdbaths to your backyard garden and landscape.

Benefits Of Adding Birdbaths

1. Provide birds with a source of water

Birds need water for drinking and bathing, especially during the winter season when the natural water supplies have been subjected to freezing points, and there’s limited access to running water. You can help the birds with heated birdbaths, as this type prevents water from freezing.

2.Attracts Other Wildlife

If you are an animal lover, then birdbaths will be your friend because birdbaths will attract other animals such as squirrels and frogs who may be in need of a drink during the summer heat or if you keep your birdbath free of ice in the winter even in the cooler months.

Over the past couple years I have made a couple bird friends, who when I’m cultivating my garden or I’m running with my shovel, will come running and wait nearby on another garden bed or on the fence to swoop in and scarf up any little grubs, bugs, or worms which I might uncover while cultivating my garden beds, which also helps to reduce pests in the garden with the added benefit of some entertainment while you’re working on it.

3. Improve aeration and control pests 

Birdbaths attract different types of birds that feed on various pests, such as slugs, caterpillars, and grasshoppers — which threaten the fruits and vegetables in your garden. This means fewer destructive insects and, of course, less pesticide application. 

Besides the pest control benefit, birds also play an essential role in boosting soil aeration, alleviating compaction through digging the garden in search of worms. When soil is properly aerated, roots will grow deeply for stronger, more vigorous lawn, crops, and flowers. 

You also get to attract wasps, which feed on cabbage worms that destroy crops. 

4. Promote pollination

Birdbaths can attract butterflies and bees — insects known as excellent pollinators. If you grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers, you’ll want to have a few birdbaths placed in inviting locations in your garden.

5. ReduceD Bird Damage In Your Vegetable Garden

One thing that I have noticed, is that when I keep my birdbaths filled and clean, my vegetable garden suffers less bird damage. When they have plenty to drink in hot weather, for example, they don’t raid my ripening tomatoes nearly as much, if at all. Same goes for my fruit trees, however, with fruit trees there’s always some bird loss from birds if you don’t protect your trees. I don’t mind if the birds get a few, because I always have more colorful birds around my backyard and trees, even in winter.

6. Support kids learning

Nature is beautiful, but, unfortunately, the connection kids have with nature isn’t really that strong as past generations before most people lived in cities and technology took over. By attracting different types of birds, you create an entertaining environment that present kids with a new opportunity to learn valuable lessons. For example, they can learn how to identify different types of birds, their habits, as well as migratory routes

Conclusion

There you have it! With the benefits of birdbaths above, it’s fair to say having one or more in your backyard is worth it.

Related References

Quick Guide to Proper Bird Bath Placement

Sometimes birds have a hard time getting fresh and clean water. A birdbath could come in handy in such instances. It could also be great if you love watching birds. Water has been proven to attract more bird species than feeders. However, getting a birdbath is the first step. You need to place the birdbath properly to ensure it serves its purpose perfectly. Here are some quick bird bath placement tips to consider. 

How to place a birdbath

1.      Place near a window or where you can see/watch birds easily

  • Although you may be getting a birdbath solely for providing birds with clean, fresh, water, you’ll definitely enjoy watching the birds. So, place the birdbath near your field of sight, preferably, somewhere you can see from indoors. This will, of course, depend on the design of your house as well as your tastes and preferences. For instance, if you have outdoor space in your home that you frequent when relaxing, consider placing your birdbath in front of such an area.


2. Place on a pedestal away from predators/danger

  • Birdbaths should be away from areas where cats, among other predators, can hide and pounce on the birds. Ideally, the birdbath should be out in the open and placed on a pedestal where birds can see predators approaching. A pedestal is also a safe distance away from the ground where children can’t reach, and you can see the birdbath easily.

3. Have an escape route

  • Since it’s impossible to eliminate predators, among other things that can scare birds away, you should think about an escape route. The birdbath should be placed where there is a clear line of escape into the sky or nearby branches since wet birds have a shorter flying range. 

4. Locate near a clean and fresh source of water

  • Birdbaths should be near a garden hose. Since one of the reasons for having a birdbath is providing clean and fresh water to birds, a location that is far from your house or a water source isn’t ideal. It should be easy for you to change the water after a few days, even daily during hot weather. A nearby water source also makes cleaning easy. 

5. Consider climate

  • Last, but not least, you need to consider the climate in your area. If you live in northern regions which are generally cold, choose a sunny spot so that the sun can keep the water warm during chilly days. Such a location will also ensure the water doesn’t freeze during winter. If you live in southern regions which are usually hot, consider a spot with some shade to keep the water cool during hot days.

WHAT ARE HERBS?

Herbs are one of the fascinating plant species on the planet. Humans have grown herbs for millennia and eaten herbs from the very beginning of time. They have added to our lives in several different ways. The humble little plants have been utilized in the following areas: flavoring food, medicinal remedies, fragrances, dyes, landscaping, pest control, and industrial uses. In recent years growing herbs has experienced a giant leap in popularity. One major factor is that they provide an attractive method of entry into the gardening fraternity because they are so easy to grow.

There are many plants that are included in the herb family. This causes a little bit of a challenge in defining members of the family. The strict botanist school definition of an herb is that it is a plant that does not form woody tissue. Ergo the name herbaceous to describe such a plant. Practical herb gardeners are a little more liberal in their definition of herbs and include plants with flowers, leaves, roots, stems, or fruits that provide any of the manifestations ascribed to herb plants. These qualities include ornamental, aromatic, medicinal, culinary, and household uses. Many plants with woody stems are included in the definition of herbs. Cultivated types (cultivators) such as thyme, lavender, and rosemary along with vines, trees, and shrubs are in there. Many cultivators are included in the legion of herb plants on the market today.

Under the right conditions, herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. They can do well in a wide range of growing conditions and soils, but the key factor is drainage. Herb plants do not like “wet feet,” and they must be planted in well-drained soil, or they will not live. Richer soils will cause   the plants to grow larger stems and roots rather than the oils which produce the desired flavors and aromas. When planning an herb garden, consider the native origins of the herbs to be included in the garden. Herbs originally from the Mediterranean Sea area will vary in their requirements from East Asia.

Annual Herbs

Annuals herbs are plants which go through their whole life cycle from seed to flower, and again to seed in one growing season.  Once this happens, the plant dies.  If you collect seeds, you can replant in the same year (e.g., spring and fall), or save and replant the following year. Common annual herbs are:

  1. Basil
  2. Cilantro
  3. Chervil
  4. Summer Savory

Biennials Herbs

Biennials are plants which require two years to complete their life cycle.  The top of the herb may die, but the herb will overwinter with proper protection in most areas, here are a few:

  1. Dill (this herb is a biennial but is normally grown as an annual.
  2. Parsley (often grown as an annual)
  3. Sage (hardy for longer in zones 5-8)
  4. Stevia

Perennials Herbs

Perennials herbs, if well cared for, can last for years in the correct climate conditions.  This makes them an excellent investment in both time and money. Of course, you may end up with more of them than you could possibly eat, which is the case with all the large rosemary bushes in my landscape. We use what we want, and the rest look good and attract pollinators.

In cooler climates, the plant to may die back in the winter  and will return in the following spring; assuming cold temperature do not exceed their tolerances.  Perennials herbs will continue growing through the winter if you live in some of the more temperate zones. Some common perennial herbs are:

  1. Bay leaves
  2. Chives
  3. Fennel
  4. Lavender
  5. Marjoram
  6. Mint
  7. Oregano
  8. Rosemary
  9. Tarragon
  10. Thyme
  11. Winter Savory

Related References

The Benefits Of Having Rain Barrels

Did you know rain barrels have community as well as household benefits?

Beyond contributing to the heath of your beautiful flowers and plants, here are the major benefits of using a rain barrel as part of your eco-friendly gardening: 

Rainwater is better for your plants and soil.

  • Rainwater is highly oxygenated, free of the salts, inorganic ions, and fluoride compounds contained in tap water that accumulate in the soil over time and potentiality harm plant roots Use of rainwater in your garden dilutes this impact, making plants more drought-tolerant, healthy.

You’ll have your own water source in times of drought or watering restrictions.

  • If you collect rainwater, you’ll be able to keep watering and nourishing your garden with your rain barrel reserves.

You’ll help to reduce runoff pollution.

  • When it rains, runoff picks up soil, fertilizer, oil, pesticides, and other contaminants and pushes them into other areas of the landscape. These pollutants can increase algae growth in lakes, alter the habitat for fish, and even make lakes and oceans dangerous for recreational activities Your water collecting stops some of this damaging flow

You’ll contribute to erosion prevention efforts.

  • Rain runoff is also a particular issue in places where land erosion is a concern_ Your rain catch will be especially helpful in these cases 

You’ll cut down on the amount of water that must undergo expensive and energy-intensive sewage treatments.

  • Capturing rainwater and putting it straight to use in your garden eliminates the need for this processing cycle

You’ll have a fresh, green way to wash your cars and pets.

  • Rainwater doesn’t have the salt and other chemicals found in tap water and therefore will be kinder on you car and pets

Use to fill birdbaths, ponds, and water gardens

Captured rainwater can be used to fill bird baths, water gardens and small ponds, all of which can be used by backyard wild live to to drink, bath and as habitat for a host of animals such as frogs, toad, fish, turtles and many more

Rainwater is the eco-friendly option to keep composts moist.

  • Adding tap water to your compost doesn’t fit this sustainability practice; you’ll want to use rainwater instead 

Help control moisture levels around the foundations of your home.

  • Collecting rainwater before it hits ground levels will help to prevent flooding, damp, and mold 

You can reduce your water bill.

  • Garden and lawn watering accounts for 40 percent of residential water use during the summer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thanks to a rain barrel’s water catch, the typical gardener can save 1, 300 gallons of water during the growing season  

Related References

BENEFITS OF GARDENING

Gardening is a hobby that is both rewarding and relaxing. Here are some of its benefits:

Stress Relief

Research conducted at Wageningen University proved gardening reduces the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. This has a calming effect that reduces overall stress.

Gardening builds immunity

People who garden are exposed to microorganisms like bacteria. This small exposure builds immunity, especially when they are exposed as children.

Gardening increases happiness

Inside dirt, a natural antidepressant called Mycobacterium vaccae can be found. It increases cytokine levels that boost the production of serotonin.

Gardening is a workout

You don’t have to get to the gym if you are gardening. One study found that spending three hours digging, pruning, and carrying out other garden tasks burned a similar amount of calories as spending those three hours in the gym.

Gardening encourages healthier eating

When you have access to fresh fruit and vegetables, it is easier to make smarter food choices. It gives you the chance to question the source of foods and consider healthier alternatives.

Gardening benefits the brain

6The way that it stimulates the mind helps reduce the risk of dementia by 36%. It can also be a great place to exercise cognitive skills and socially interact with others.