Plan Your Garden to Save the Bees
In case you haven’t heard the news, bees are in danger. Liberal use of pesticides, shrinking habitats, and other factors are contributing to the problem. Unfortunately, bees are essential to life as we know it; they are critical pollinators that are part of the life cycle of many fresh fruits and vegetables, not to mention the are necessary for production of honey and beeswax, which are used in many natural products we buy. Many scientists, farmers, and bee hobbyists are sounding the alarm bells at every level of government in order to educate the public and legislators about the problem. The good news is, we don’t need to wait for government to solve the problem. There are things that every homeowner can do to help the plight of bees.
The first step is to stop using chemicals that are harmful to bees. Pesticides are often non-discriminatory, which means while you are trying to get rid of one pest, you are also inadvertently harming beneficial insects such as bees, ladybugs, and others. Many herbicides are also harmful to insects, so while trying to rid your yard of the ghastly dandelion, you are simultaneously depriving bees of a natural pollen source, while also harming bees that land on treated weeds. For tips on how to control pests naturally, without harming bees, click here.
The second step is to make your yard bee nirvana. Throw out the welcome mat by planting some of their favorite flowers. You’ll be providing them a food source, a safe haven away from harmful chemicals, and your garden will look great at the same time. Try these plant varieties to invite honeybees to the party:
- Lavender – needs full sun. Drought tolerant once established, but needs regular watering after first planting.
- Sunflower – needs 6-8 hours of direct sun per day. Not overly fussy, but is a heavy feeder, so fertilize often. Needs some protection from wind, so consider supports or planting a long a fence row or beside the house. Bonus: you get to eat the seeds!
- Black-eyed Susan – needs full sun. Plant in loose, well-drained soil.
- Coneflower – likes full sun but will grow in partial shade. Spread a layer of compost over planted seeds for nutrients and cover with mulch to preserve moisture.
- Penstemon – best blooms and growth in full sun. Needs regular watering and fertilizing.
- Aster – asters like sun, but they don’t like to bake. Plant in a location that is protected from the hottest part of the day. They like cooler, moist summers.
- Rosemary – likes full sun. Rosemary is a perennial that spreads out, so leave plenty of room around it to grow. Bonus: enjoy the fragrance, and harvest some sprigs to use in your cooking!
The problem of declining populations of bees won’t be cured over night. But we can all do our part to lend a hand. And while you are at it, take five minutes to call your legislator about taking action to protect bees these little giants, that are critical to ensure we all have enough fresh fruits and vegetables in the future!
Let my team at Keystone Realtors® meet all your real estate needs. Paul Phangureh has over 16 years of experience in buying and selling in the Santa Clara and San Mateo County areas, specializing in the high-end, luxury market, as well as commercial and multi-use real estate. We can help you navigate the process of getting started with real estate investment. Visit our website at Keystonesv.com for listings and information. You can contact Paul at 650-924-2544, or email at [email protected].