Pollination in the Garden
I don’t know if you know this or not but there is a lot of sex going on in your garden. Without pollination plants cannot set fruit and reproduce. In fact we owe most of what we eat to this process. Even the meat we eat has to eat plants that are pollinated. As gardeners it is important that we understand this so that we can help things along . We should be botanical matchmakers and habitat builders if we want our gardens to flourish.
Some plants like corn and tomatoes are pollinated by the wind. They benefit in being planted in in more square or rectangle blocks rather than in a single row. That is why it is hard to get a filled out ear of corn when you only plant a single row. The pollen blows off the tassel (male) but may miss the silks on the ear ( female ) because there was not another stalk close enough to catch the pollen. With tomatoes it is easier because you have blooms all along the bush but when tomatoes are grown in a greenhouse without any breeze they have to be pollinated by vibrating the vine so if you want to more tomatoes try tapping your tomato cage with a stick as you walk by
Some plants like squash and cucumber have male and female flowers that have to be pollinated by pollen carrying insects like honey bees. When you see a squash that has a lot of bumps on it or has not formed correctly it is usually due to improper pollination.Squash has to be visited 6 or 8 times in a single day to be pollinated fully. If you have ever had the experience of seeing squash blooms appear and just fall off with no squash forming it is because the first blooms ar male flowers and only the female flowers form a fruit. in fact you just need to look below the bloom to tell the difference between a male and female flower. the female flower will have a tiny squash at the base of the flower and the male will not.
This is just a small example of how important pollinators are to our gardens and our food supply in general.
Here is a link to read more about pollinators
There are three thing that you can do do to attract pollinators to your garden. Food,Water and Shelter are what what all animals and insects need to survive and pollinators are no different.
*provide different kinds of native plants that will bloom from spring until fall.
Here is a link to see a list of native plants
*Shallow pools of water are ideal for most pollinators.
Provide water in shallow containers with sloping sides or with gravel, rocks or other structures as resting sites so that insects do not drown.
. Mud puddles also work great. Standing water like birdbaths need to be changed 2 to 3 times a week to avoid mosquitoes.
Here is a link to a bee friendly garden that shows how to make a water station.
* Dead trees or logs laid near the garden will provide hollow cavities for nesting sites. ther are also man maid nest that you can build
Here are two link for more instruction