The Power of a Pollinator Strip

The Power of a Pollinator Strip
With pollinators dwindling, there are many things you can do to help.
Sign up for a Bee Experience to learn about the honey bee first hand.  Its a safe and amazing way to learn about these amazing creatures.  The honey bee is directly responsible for 80% of the pollination of the top 12 food crops in our current food system. 
Support.  Support a local beekeeper with your purchases.  Global honey prices have fallen below a dollar per pound, so our markets are being flooded with honey from international sources effectively putting honey producers out of business. 
Support politicians that back Canadian food producers and farmers and not villify or over tax their work. 
Act. Plant a pollinator strip. It's a fantastic way to create a haven for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beneficial insects. These colourful havens provide a much-needed food source for and offer so many benefits for your garden and the environment.

Why Plant a Pollinator Strip?

Pollinators play a critical role in a healthy ecosystem. By flitting from flower to flower, they transfer pollen, ensuring the reproduction of countless plants, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and even flowering trees. Supporting pollinators with a dedicated food source isn't just good for them, it's good for us too! A thriving pollinator population leads to a more abundant harvest and a more resilient biodiverse environment.

What is a Pollinator Strip?

A pollinator strip is a dedicated area planted with a variety of flowering plants that bloom throughout the growing season. Ideally located in a sunny spot with good drainage, these strips can be any size or shape, making them perfect for even the smallest gardens.

Think cottage garden or meadow like feel...a vibrant tapestry of colourful blooms that will attract a symphony of buzzing and fluttering – that's the magic of a pollinator strip!

Benefits of Planting a Pollinator Strip:

    • Supports Pollinators: Provides a reliable food source for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beneficial insects.
    • Increases Biodiversity: Creates a habitat for a variety of pollinators, promoting a healthy ecosystem with a greater ability to resist pests and diseases.
    • Enhances Your Garden: Beautiful flowers add colour, life, and a touch of the wild to your landscape.
    • Attracts Natural Predators: Pollinator strips can attract beneficial insects like ladybugs that help control garden pests naturally.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, pollinator strips require minimal care, freeing up your time to enjoy the beauty they create.

How to Plant a Pollinator Strip:

    1. Choose Your Location: Select a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Consider the size and shape that best suits your space. Even a small strip along a fence line can make a difference!

    2. Prepare the Soil: Remove any existing weeds or grass and loosen the top few inches of soil. You may want to add some compost or organic matter for additional nutrients. Aim for a loose and fluffy texture that's easy for seeds to germinate in.

    3. Select Your Plants: Opt for a variety of native wildflowers that bloom throughout the growing season, ensuring a continuous buffet for pollinators. Milkweed, Echinacea, Black-eyed Susan, Calendula, Cosmos, and single Dahlias from seed are all excellent choices. Don't forget the flowering herbs! Borage, Sage, Mint, and Oregano provide both pollen and nectar, and their fragrant leaves are a bonus for you. Consider using pre-made seed mixes specifically designed for pollinator strips, which often offer a diverse selection of native wildflowers with staggered bloom times.

    4. Planting: You can either sow seeds directly into the prepared soil or use pre-grown seedlings. If using seeds, consider mixing them with some soil in a bucket first. This helps with even distribution when scattering the seeds over the ground. Water regularly, especially during the germination period.

    5. Maintenance: Once established, pollinator strips require minimal care. Occasional weeding may be necessary, but the idea is to have the plants bloom thickly, creating a haven for pollinators. 

By planting a pollinator strip, you're not only helping pollinators, but you're also creating a beautiful and beneficial addition to your garden. So grab your seeds, get planting, and watch your garden come alive with the buzz of happy pollinators!

P.S. Don't Forget the H2O!

Just like us, pollinators need water to survive. Leave a shallow dish filled with clean water out for them. Don't forget to strategically place some rocks or a stick for them to land on so they don't drown while getting a drink. You could also leave a towel floating in the water as a landing pad. 

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