Bee a Friend To Pollinators
Updated: Nov 7, 2022
Taking a weeklong break from our Virginia Farm Flavors series, I wanted to talk about one of the smallest, but hardest-working employees we have on the farm: Pollinators! We all know by now the importance of pollinators, not just for small farms but also on a global scale.
No pollinators, no food!
Unfortunately, our pollinator populations are declining all across the country primarily due to loss of habitat, but also due to increases in pesticide use across large swaths of land (especially along those large industrial mono-crop farms). Here at Woodside, we’re doing our part to create a safe place for all pollinators. We focus on cultivating local perennial beds that will not only attract and nourish local pollinators but will also grow naturally in our beds and require fewer inputs like heavy irrigation and fertilization. These beds are located along the fence line of our lower field. If you walk around the lower field of our farm you’ll notice all the beds are built into blocks. However, on the outside perimeter of these blocks, we have several smaller circular beds - these are our pollinator beds. This is where we’ve planted a mixture of local perennials and some showy annuals. It’s important to focus on native plants when planning a pollinator bed in order to attract the pollinators that are found in your area. While local pollinators will still be drawn to it, it’s helpful to note that many butterfly bushes are actually from China and have been classified as invasive species, as they crowd out native pollinators and actually don’t support pollinator reproduction and habitat beyond providing nectar to adult butterflies. These zones in our fields are also buffers to the outside world. They help redirect wind, pests, and hopefully plant diseases as well, while also attracting beneficial bugs to outcompete our bad bugs.
Edit: Did you know there are actually Pollinator-safe Round-Up Alternatives? Check out this list that our friends at Consumer Notice put together. These can be used around your