Our educational booth at the Minnesota State Fair is aimed at teaching fair-goers more about pollinators and their important role in our food system. There are a variety of factors in the decline of pollinators — habitat loss, diseases and parasites, pesticide use, climate change — it’s a long list.
But gardeners can help pollinators by creating the environments in which they thrive. Here are some of the basics of what a gardener can do:
• Grow pollinator-friendly plants. True native plants for your site are best because they are the plants native pollinators developed among.
• Choose a mixture of plants for a continuous sequence of flowering from spring through fall. Be sure to include early bloomers, such as crocus and even dandelions, and late blooms, such as asters.
• Reduce or eliminate pesticide use. Control pests by incorporating plants that attract beneficial insects.
• Design a garden with lots of features that pollinators need, including sources of water, mud holes, bits of bare soil and brush piles and other places to nest.
• Even small urban landscapes play an important role in supporting native pollinators when there is a diversity of plants and gardeners follow pollinator-friendly practices.
Check out our booth at the fair for even more information about how you can help pollinators.