Pollinators are vital to every vegetable garden, especially if you have a wide variety of vegetables that you grow. There are some self-pollinating vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, beans, and peas, but other vegetables will greatly benefit if there are some pollinators in your vegetable garden. In some areas, you might have it easy and you will have a lot of different types of pollinators, but in some areas, attracting pollinators might be difficult.
You can attract pollinators to your vegetable garden by providing them with food, water, and shelter. By far the easiest way to attract as many different types of pollinators is to plant flowers with your vegetables. In case you are using pesticides and insecticides you should stop spraying once the flowers are in bloom, this way you will not harm the pollinators.
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Insecticides and pesticides are one of the biggest threats to pollinators, over the past decades we have sprayed our gardens with so many pesticides and insecticides that the local pollinators have either died out or they simply avoid our gardens. The good news is that with some work you can attract pollinators back to your vegetable garden, just keep in mind that attracting them will not happen overnight.
If you live in an urban area then attracting pollinators will be a lot more difficult, mostly due to the pollution and the amount of pesticides that have been used locally. Your goal should be to make a safe haven for pollinators in your garden, and this means that you have to provide them with food, water, and shelter. If you want to attract Monarch butterflies then check out my recent article Plants That Attract Monarch Butterflies ( Top 13 Plants ).
Stop Using Pesticides And Insecticides To Be Able Attract Pollinators
If you are serious about attracting pollinators to your vegetable garden then you have to stop using insecticides and pesticides. If you are just spraying your vegetables for the sake of it or because everyone else is doing it then you have to stop. There are certain situations where you will have to use these chemicals, like when you have a serious infestation of a particular pest, in this case, you should avoid using pesticides and insecticides when the plants are blooming, this way you will not harm the pollinators.
Plant Flowers In Your Vegetable Garden To Attract Pollinators
One of the easiest ways of attracting pollinators to your vegetable garden is by planting flowers. These flowers can be either annual or perennial, just keep in mind that annual flowers will flower in the first year and perennial flowers will need a couple of years until they flower. Do not stick with just one type of flower, the higher the diversity of flowers in the vegetable garden is the more types of pollinators you will attract.
Create A Wildflower Patch To Attract Pollinators
If you have a relatively large vegetable garden or you have an extremely hard time attracting pollinators to your garden then my personal recommendation is to make a wildflower patch. You can buy mixed flower seed packets which are native to your area and with some work you will start attracting different pollinators after a couple of months. Make sure not to pull weeds for the first couple of weeks, because a lot of wildflowers tend to look like weeds in their early stage. If you want to know more about making a wildflower patch then check out my recent article Wildflower Garden ( In 10 Easy Steps ).
Fresh Water Attracts Pollinators
Pollinators will also need a reliable source of water, if the nearest place where they can drink water is several miles away then you are making it extremely difficult for the pollinators to visit your vegetable garden. Now, this doesn’t mean that you will need to make a small pond in your garden, although it would be beneficial, instead get a bird waterer. If you provide water for the pollinators you not only help them out, but you will also stop birds from eating your fruits in case they get thirsty.
Shelter Attracts Pollinators
Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to set up a beehive, there are plenty of other pollinators in addition to bees. Monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, solitary bees, wasps, and other insects are extremely good at pollinating. If you provide food and water for the pollinators they will search for a place to live, and oftentimes they will find small cracks in your house where they rest and reproduce. To avoid this you could simply build or buy an insect hotel, and make sure to place it in a shaded area of your vegetable garden. A lot of pollinator-friendly flowers are prone to get damaged by slugs and snails for more information check out my recent article How To Get Rid Of Slugs And Snails ( Top 19 Methods ).
Deadhead Flowers For More Blooms Which Attracts More Pollinators
The more flowers you have the more pollinators will be in your vegetable garden. In case you have a relatively small space or you just want to maximize the number of flowers in your garden then you should deadhead them. Deadheading simply means that you cut off the flowers once their bloom is spent, this way the plant will focus its energy on producing new flowers instead of producing seeds.
Plant Shrubs That Attract Pollinators
Shrubs that tend to produce a lot of flowers will attract pollinators, although ideally, you should use shrubs with flowers that feed the pollinators. There are a lot of shrubs that have sterile flowers, these look pretty but they do not provide any food for the pollinators. Check your local hardiness zone and pick shrubs that tend to produce flowers for several months rather than flower for just a few weeks.
As you can see there are a couple of simple steps that you can make in order to attract pollinators to your vegetable garden. As long as you provide food, water, and shelter for the pollinators they will come. The bigger your flower diversity is the bigger the diversity of the pollinators will be, in addition to this make sure to use both annual and perennial flowers as well.