The Pollinator Partnership has declared June 20-26, 2011, as National Pollinator Week. Pollinators are bugs that carry pollen from one plant to another, helping them to make fruit or seeds. Pollinators are essential for natural pollination, and adding plants to your backyard garden that attract pollinators can help your plants flourish without using fertilizers and other undesirable chemicals.
Bright flowers, of course, attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, but there are edible plants that attract them, too. By planting these edibles, they’ll be doing double duty. They’ll attract the pollinators and provide you nutritious food for your family.
Squash – Pollinators love the blossoms.
- Basil – Once it’s gone to flower, the pollinators will come. Plant an extra one that you allow just to go to flower.
- Green beans – They like the flowers that appear before they turn to beans.
- Lavender – It attracts pollinators, it tastes yummy in special dishes, and it can also be cut to add to flower arrangements.
- Oregano – Pollinators are attracted to oregano, even when it’s not flowering.
- Apple trees – If you have the room to plant two apple trees on your property, you can get apples (after a couple of years) and attract pollinators.
- Radish – Pollinators are attracted to the leaves. Plant continuously throughout the growing season for delicious radishes and a consistent supply of bee and butterfly attraction.
- Dandelions – You don’t even have to plant these edible wild flowers. (I don’t consider them weeds.) Just allow them to flourish, and use their leaves in salads or pesto and their flowers in fritters. I posted some dandelion recipes a while back.
- Sunflowers – These are amazing pollinator attractors. Enjoy the flowers during the growing season, and when they’re done, collect the seeds for eating.
Honeysuckle – Think this isn’t an edible plant? Ask any kid that has ever sucked the nectar from these spring plants, and he’ll tell you otherwise.