The US Department of Agriculture has declared June 20-26th, 2011 National Pollinator Week. This is the 5th annual pollinator week and Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, wants us all to recognize that pollinators like bats, insects and birds are important partners in producing our food supply and are essential to the health of our diverse ecosystems.
The public-private partnership that is the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign is trying to get the word out to folks that pollinators are not to be taken for granted and that we can all help in protecting these valuable animals.
So, who are these pollinators you might ask? Thousands of species of animals worldwide that help plants reproduce–rodents, birds, insects, reptiles, bats and even lemurs. Unwittingly, as these creatures feed on nectar and pollen, pollen sticks to their bodies and they move it from from flower to flower. When pollen reaches the stigma (female flower structure) it becomes fertilized and later produces seed. The pollinator-plant relationship has evolved over 100 million years.
While some plants can be pollinated by the action of wind and rain carrying pollen, the quality and quantity of fruit set is better with plants that are animal pollinated. For instance, when bumblebees climb inside the flowers of tomatoes, the buzzing action facilitates pollination and we get more tomatoes, and better ones at that.
Some quick tips for attracting pollinators to your own garden:
–Plant more flowers from the daisy family
–Plant more herbs like rosemary, lavender, sage, dill and parsley
–Stop using pesticides
–Include fresh, untreated sources of water in the garden
To learn about encouraging pollinators, come see me speak this Thursday the 23rd at 5pm at the Bremerton Farmer’s Market where I’ll help you CREATE A BUZZ! With 4 Easy Steps to Attract Pollinators to your Garden.
The Bremerton Farmer’s Market is at Evergreen Park at 1400 Park Avenue. I look forward to seeing you then! http://bremertonmarket.wordpress.com
To read the one page, fabulous US Department of Agriculture National Pollinator Week Proclamation: http://www.pollinator.org/PDFs/NPW/Pollinator2011proclamation.pdf
© Colleen Miko, 2011