Teaching Kids about a Pollinating Garden
Kids are curious and will ask questions, their little minds are impressionable therefore it’s important to equip them with the knowledge they need by providing them with opportunities to learn and expand their knowledge which will impact their lives in a positive way. A great way to leave a lasting impression is to teach your kids about the importance of a pollinating garden.
This garden type will not only connect kids with nature but will show them the importance of pollinators ( beneficial insects) in relation to plant life and how both play a major role in impacting our environment and our ecosystem.
The Job of Pollinators
Pollinators are small insects and creatures such as many bird species including hummingbirds, bats, beetles, bees, butterflies, wasps, and ants, along with flies that play an important role in both natural and agricultural systems. These little engineers (pollinators) help to sustain our ecosystem and produce natural resources by helping plants reproduce. An average worker bee makes only 1/12 teaspoon of honey during its lifetime but collectively a bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year. From this fact, it’s clear that we can see the impact pollinators has on our planet.
1. Choosing Native Plants
The first step to installing a pollinator garden is selecting native plants, going native will not only naturally attract pollinators that live in your area or zone but will be easier to maintain. Plants that are not native to your zone will not only keep pollinators at bay but may become a challenge to maintain when it comes to lighting, soil type, etc… besides attracting pollinators native plants will also provide shelter, nesting sites, and a food source for wildlife. When installing flowering plants installing in groups or masses will make it easier for pollinators to locate them.
Installing lots of colorful flowering plants will not only give that visual appeal but will attract pollinators like a magnet to your garden, many of these native plants can also be used as cut flowers. Once you have chosen which plants you want to include in your pollinating garden find out how to care for those plant species such as lighting, soil type, water requirements, fertilizing requirements, etc… another great way to attract pollinators to your garden is including and insect hotel, this hotel will act as a natural habitat for bees.
2. Installing a Watering Station
Including a watering station in your garden will help pollinators to feel right at home, to create a watering station for pollinators is simple, all you need is to fill a shallow bowl, tray, or dish with water. Now add a few small rocks to the dish, these rocks should be large enough where the top part is above the water for pollinators s to rest and take a drink of water and climb up if they fall into the water. Place the dish of water near a shrub or under a flowering plant, a mud puddle is also inviting to bees and butterflies. To create a mud puddle simply let your hose drip a bit to form a sipping spot that’s damp and muddy, adding some wood ash or sea salt will provide minerals and micronutrients that will strengthen the pollinator’s diet.
3. Allow Fallen Leaves to Remain Under Trees and Shrubs
Help to create a natural habitat for pollinators by allowing leaves to remain under shrubs and trees, I know you want your garden to be beautifully maintained but intentionally keeping some of that fallen leaves will be inviting to the larvae of moths and butterflies to nest in during the summer months and then as the colder months approaches. They will overwinter in the leaf litter, there are many native bees that fly solitary seeking out shelter in the hollow of a flower stem that’s dead.
4. Avoid the Use of Herbicides, Pesticides and Synthetic Fertilizers
Avoid using herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers in your garden, if pollinators are exposed can cause injury and even death. These chemicals especially if misused can contaminate the air and the water table or our drinking water. Instead of using herbicides for weed elimination why not hand weed, I know this task can become tedious so it’s best to have a regular weeding schedule to minimize the amount of weeding that has to be carried. Garden pests can be controlled with the help of natural predators known as beneficial insects, beneficial insects uses garden insect pests as a food source.
5. Old Trees still has Some Use
Old trees can help pollinators by providing a nesting site and a place to overwinter, why not leave your old trees up but keep them maintained to a height of 5-6 ft tall will act as a natural habitat.
A Bonus Point Just for You
1. A great way to create a natural habitat for pollinators if possible and depending on the size of your property is to intentionally let a small portion grow wild just a small portion will provide nesting areas, food, and shelter. Allowing some dead wood to remain in this area will act as a nesting site for native bees.
2. Organic pesticides may harm pollinators so avoid them, however, if you must use organic pesticides use one that’s less toxic to pollinators, and read the label before application.
3. Include plants that will feed all stages of pollinator’s life cycle from caterpillars to the adult butterfly.
The Benefits of Kids Gardening
- Gardening connects kids with nature
- It teaches them how nature works
- It shows them the importance of nature in relation to 0ur eco-system
- It teaches how nature impacts our environment
- They will learn the importance of insects and why they visit our gardens
The final word on how to plant a pollinator garden with kids
Planting and maintaining a pollinating garden with kids is that easy and can be a funfilled learning experience as these little creatures are observed in their natural habitat. Creating a pollinator garden will help in bringing balance to our ecosystem as we watch this community coexist ( biodiversity) with each other. I encourage you to give this garden type a try you and your kids will be so happy with the results as your garden comes to life with the many activities.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.