As hard as you may try to keep them out, unwelcome pests will find your garden at some point. But not all bugs are bad. And inviting the right ones into your garden can actually mean less work for you and a healthier, more productive garden overall.
From pollinators to predators and soil dwellers, here’s a short list of the good guys and what you can do to ensure you have a good supply of them in your garden.
Bet you could have guessed that bees would be the first on our list! Pollinator Partnership provides a long list of plants that benefit from the pollination of bees, including melons, pumpkins, blueberries, strawberries and tomatoes, and we can’t leave out coffee and chocolate. In fact, three-fourths of all the fruits, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States are pollinated by bees. And according to the USDA, 4,000 bee species are native to the States. The key is to attract a variety of native bees to your garden, as they all have their specializations. For example, squash bees are the best pollinators of squash and other cucurbits. To attract a variety of bee species, plant a variety of flowers, varying in size, shape and color. And focus on using flowers that are native to your area, since native bees and native flowers have evolved over time together. Also, choose flowers that bloom during different seasons, so your bees have a reason to stick around throughout the growing seasons. Goldenrod, purple prairie clover and coneflower are great options!
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