Giving Gratitude, Accepting Change

Changing Times, Changing Celebrations

Yesterday I hosted an early Thanksgiving with my kids in my newest home. I quite happily spent several days preparing a more or less traditional feast, but having lived in three houses this year, I sometimes found myself reaching for a cupboard that isn’t here, or looking for a pan that has passed from my hands. We were gathering in honor of my birthday, but for me at least it was a day of deepest thanks and gratitude for healthy, wholehearted relationships with family and friends. That hasn’t always been the case and it felt richly beautiful for us all to be fully at peace and accepting of each other as is.

On Thursday, I’ll honor the day in a different way. Many cultures have a tradition of commemorating lost people, causes, and more by placing an empty chair at a feast table. A candle is set on an empty plate in front of the chair in memory of those who have died, someone who might be estranged, travelers who are far from home and family, or some tragedy great or small. Last year, I wrote the words below and I feel their truth more strongly than ever.

“I’ve been swamped with feelings of deepest grief for the past two weeks, and realize that I feel the recent election results like a big, resonating death. Today marks the first anniversary of my mother’s death and I’m remembering watching her take her final breath, gently and peacefully and then simply stopping. It is not my mother’s death that grieves my heart, but what feels like the death of my country, land of liberty and justice for all. So this year, my celebration table will have an empty chair, and the empty plate will hold a candle. When we sit, we’ll extinguish all the lights, have a moment of recollection for all we have lost, then light the candle to remind us of what we still have in abundance, and what will remain when we ourselves are gone. “

Gathering In New Ways And Old

Like so many families, mine has expanded as my kids reach adulthood. Since they now have complex schedules and multi-family events to attend, I’ve found it more satisfying to swap traditional celebrations for smaller gatherings. As my sons reached adulthood, I made a clear decision that I do not ever want being with me to be an obligation for my family or friends. I am happily rediscovering how refreshing it can be to allow changes to reshape traditions that have become reflexive habits. After several years spent clearing out crammed closets and drawers to re-home an embarrassing amount of unneeded and unused things, it feels natural and soothing to renew the way I celebrate holidays by emptying myself of expectations and making room for something more spacious and new.

Instead of the sometimes frenetic round of events and occasions, of endless gifts and parties, I’m finding more fun in the small and the simple. At four and not quite two, my grandkids’ presence lets me keep some treasured traditions while releasing any that feel unsatisfying or outgrown. We are also creating pleasant new traditions based on the interests and abilities of these little people who are experiencing holidays and happenings as fresh and fascinating. If my perfectly round Santa Snowball cookies turn to asteroids that are splatted on the baking sheet, well, why not? If it’s great fun to trim and re-trim and play with a small fake tree (made of inventively recycled materials, of course!), well, why not that too?

Food, Glorious Food

Both the little kids like to cook and we’ve spent many happy hours making whatever they dream up. Yesterday, they stood on chairs to help make both classic and dairy free mashed potatoes, using my favorite small masher left over from a child’s kitchen set. These days, some adaptation is also needed to accommodate the varying dietary issues of any extended family, and I’m once again offering you a sampler of very tasty treats suitable for any feast. Some are vegetarian or vegan, some dairy- and gluten-free, but all taste wonderful even to those who can eat anything they want. Enjoy each other and be swift to love, for time is short!

Sugar Free And Scrumptious

This sparkling, tart relish relies on super-sweet oranges for flavor balance, but if need be, add a tad of maple syrup to taste.

Sugar-Free Orange Cranberry Relish

2 organic Cara Cara Oranges
1-1/3 cups organic cranberries
few grains sea salt
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

In a food processor, grind oranges and cranberries, add salt and maple syrup to taste. Chill for 2-3 days before serving. Makes about 2 cups.

Best Vegan Mashed Potatoes

Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes with gravy? This truly delicious vegan version is made with buttery-tasting avocado oil. Reserve some potato water (the cloudy stuff at the bottom of the pan) for the gravy, and recycle any leftovers as potato cakes.

Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
3-4 tablespoons avocado oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Peel and chop potatoes, cover with cold water, set aside. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add drained potatoes, garlic, and half the salt and cook until tender (12-15 minutes). Drain, reserving cooking liquid, and mash or put through a ricer (it gives a lighter texture). Thin to desired thickness with potato cooking water and avocado oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with mushroom gravy (see below).

Rich Vegan Gravy

Buttery avocado oil gives everything a fuller, warmer flavor, and umami-rich mushrooms give this plant-based gravy depth and savor. Flaked nutritional yeast adds protein and a salty (though salt-free), nut-like flavor as well. While any mushrooms will do, porcini offer the most antioxidants and apricot-scented chanterelles the sweetest flavor.

Vegan Leek & Mushroom Gravy

1/4 cup avocado oil
1 large brown or yellow onion, chopped
4 medium leeks, chopped (white and palest green parts only)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound porcini or any mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup flour (any kind that will thicken a sauce)
4 cups fresh vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine
2-3 teaspoons flaked nutritional yeast

In a wide, shallow pan, combine oil, onion, leeks and salt over medium high heat and cook until soft (10-15 minutes). Add mushrooms, cover pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes to sweat mushrooms. Add flour and stir in gently, then cook, covered for 2 minutes. Add broth and red wine and simmer until mushrooms are tender (20-30 minutes). Serve as is or puree with an immersion blender to desired consistency and serve hot. Makes about 6 cups.

Winter Sparkle Salad

2 cups Savoy cabbage, finely chopped
2 cups Napa cabbage, finely shredded
1 bulb Florence fennel, finely shaved
2 clementines, sectioned and peeled
1 Jazz or Opal apple, chopped
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup stemmed cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped roasted hazelnuts
2-3 tablespoons flavored rice vinegar

Toss all ingredients and serve. Serves 6.

Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes, & Cranberries

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced (1/4 inch)
2 tablespoons avocado or high temperature oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups raw cranberries, washed and picked over

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss vegetables with oil and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (or two). Sprinkle with salt and roast for 30 minutes. Stir with a spatula, add cranberries and roast until well caramelized (10-12 minutes). Serves 6.

Aromatic Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-Free)

1 unbaked pie crust
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, coriander and ginger
2 large eggs
2 cups (15-ounce can) cooked pumpkin pulp
12 ounces coconut milk (1 can)

Line a pie dish with crust, crimp edge, set aside. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir well. Add eggs and stir until foamy. Stir in pumpkin pulp completely, then coconut milk. Spoon into crust and bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake until set (40-50 minutes). Let stand for an hour or more before serving.

This light, fluffy vegan version is more like a cream pie than baked custard:

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

1/2 cup dark molasses or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, coriander and ginger
12 ounces silken tofu
1-1/2 cups cooked pumpkin pulp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pre-baked nut crust (see below)

In a food processor, combine all but crust and blend well. Spoon into baked nut crust and chill for at least an hour before serving.

Crunchy Nut Crust

1-1/2 cups almonds or walnuts
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
few grains sea salt

In a food processor, grind nuts coarsely. Add remaining ingredients and process briefly to blend. Pat into a pie dish. For chilled filling, prebake at 350 degrees F until golden (20-25 minutes), cool before filling.

 

 

Posted in Health & Wellbeing, Nutrition, Recipes, Sustainable Living, Vegan Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Backyard Permaculture

Integrating Edibles

Years ago I was researching ecotour sites in Costa Rica for a group called Ecoteach, which takes teachers and students on marvelous adventures where they volunteer to help protect sea turtles, assist with wildlife rescue, and restore rainforest. As we investigated possible sites, I noticed that most of the small farms and homes we visited mixed edibles and ornamentals in the same plantings. Edible plants in great profusion were not segregated in special areas or rowed out in beds, but planted naturalistically. I soon learned that in rural Costa Rica, most people use native edibles in traditional plantings called agrofloresta, or forest farming. Homes are nestled into native forest or jungle flora, with bananas and gingers, apples and orchids, coffee and chocolate growing side by side.

Where North Americans would grow lawns, agrofloresta uses nitrogen fixing ground covers, some native, some imported. Cows and sheep graze high-protein grasses in modest meadows where chickens and ducks roam free. The result is both charming and efficient: Over the past fifty years, agrofloresta has been developed into a sophisticated system that’s highly productive, providing families with many of their food needs without requiring toxic pesticides or expensive fertilizers. Where forest was cleared and land degraded by huge cattle ranches, small holders have restored native plants and healed the exhausted soil through staged succession plantings. Though it’s estimated that it takes about 300 years to fully restore cloud forest or jungle ecologies, agrofloresta jumpstarts the healing process considerably.

Permanent Agriculture

In temperate parts of the world, a similar system called permaculture is gaining ground. Co-founder Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist and wildlife biologist, has characterized permaculture as a highly adaptable system that incorporates elements of agrofloresta, sustainable agriculture, and organic farming with naturalistic design. Permaculture design begins with observation, learning about the land, the weather, and the wildlife on a given site. Next is energy capture; wind, water, and solar power are all used and reused passively and actively. Edible plantings, from trees and shrubs to perennial herbs and annual vegetables, are incorporated whenever possible.

Like doctors, permaculturists pledge to do no harm, and to leave the land in better condition. Low tech approaches are favored; horses provide not only power but valuable manure. Nothing is wasted, so composting, worm bins, and soil building recycle detritus into garden gold. As much water as possible is captured in soil and in containers, from rain barrels to huge holding tanks. Soil is healed with compost mulches and cover crops, though permaculture design replaces rows and beds with open meadows. Trees and shrubs provide fruit, nuts, and homes for wildlife, while living fences provide kindling and firewood.

Good For The World

Interdependence is valued over independence; community building is as important as soil building and sharing promotes conservation of effort and resources. A diversity of crops replace monocultures, hedgerows replace fences, and new ideas like no-till farming edge out destructive “standard practices”. Permaculture practitioners take the long view, working for a future they may not see, and including the needs of both fauna and flora in all planning, long or short range. Thus, plantings that feed and shelter birds and critters and support beneficial insects and pollinators are as valuable as any human food crop.

One great beauty of the permaculture way is that these principles can guide designs on the smallest scale. Backyard permaculture can inform the simplest design as well, creating elegant solutions that serve a multiplicity of needs. Instead of a turf lawn, consider creating paths through a walkable tapestry lawn mix laced with nitrogen fixing clovers and pollinator friendly flowers. When choosing ornamental trees, consider those that provide shelter and food for birds and insects, such as crabapples and native hawthorns (not invasive Europeans).

Natives And Allies

Native pollinators naturally prefer native plants but often visit allies as well, so grow both blueberries and huckleberries, salmonberry and raspberries, native hazels and filberts. Use native strawberries for ground cover as well as your favorite everbearing varieties for the table. You and wildlife can all enjoy the shade of alders and willows, both of which are important nesting and fodder trees for woodpeckers, sapsuckers, owls and songbirds as well as native squirrels and all sorts of beneficial insects. Oregon grape blooms early, providing nectar for many pollinators and food for birds. Flowering currant (Ribes) is a beautiful shrub that’s home to a host of birds, bees and butterflies.

One important consideration for all who are thinking about creating a more natural garden where insects and critters are welcome is the fact that all critters need water, food and shelter. Unless we have natural ponds or streams, we may need to provide shallow bathing bowls and keep them clean and full of fresh water. Food will be abundant wherever we offer a diversity of plants but providing food and shelter means allowing some visible “damage” to plants we may hold dear. It also means leaving much of the garden undisturbed in winter, when butterflies, frogs, toads and other creatures are hibernating. If you tend toward neatness over the natural, this may be painfully difficult, so one way to ease into a new way of caring for your garden might be to allow sweet disorder to reign in areas you don’t have to look at every day. Keep you entry and walkway as neat as you please and comfort your tidy self with the knowledge that letting go of a little control now will pay a dividend of flourishing garden life in the future

Here are some good places to learn more about permaculture:

https://knowledgebase.permaculture.org.uk/principles

https://permacultureprinciples.com/

For information on ecotouring in Costa Rica, check out this link:

http://ecoteach.com/

 

Posted in composting, Garden Prep, Growing Berry Crops, Health & Wellbeing, Nutrition, pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Gardening For Bees, Bugs and Butterflies

A Home Place For Beneficials

It’s not good news that in recent years, local gardeners and those around the globe have noticed a radical drop in pollinators. While honeybees get most of the media attention, thousands of species of native bees are also dwindling. Critter census numbers show that many important pollinators are struggling, from bees to bats, birds and butterflies. Those of us who grow food will find our efforts better rewarded if we also plant for those natural allies. Gardens that attract and host beneficial insects of many kinds thrive by becoming a haven for those tiny helpers. Crop production will improve as pollination rates climb, and many of those same beneficial bugs and creatures also eat troublesome garden pests, eliminating any need for toxic pesticides.

To forward this worthy agenda, many folks designate an area near orchards and vegetable beds to become home ground for beneficials. Organic growers call such areas “bug banks,” since they become storehouses of invaluable insect garden allies. In its simplest form, a slim strip of bug bank might line or abut each row in a veggie patch, holding perennial herbs such as oregano, thyme, sage and rosemary as well as annual flowers like feverfew and sweet alyssum. The greater the variety of plants on offer, the greater the assortment and quantity of insect helpers that will make themselves at home.

Banking On Northwest Natives

Not surprisingly, native pollinators often prefer native plants, though some are willing to experiment with garden beauties. Early bloomers will lure in numerous insects, including Mason bees, small but mighty, and more efficient pollinators than European honeybees. To get the full benefit of local pollinators, stock your bug bank with Indian plum (Oemleria), flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum), and various species of Oregon grape (Mahonia). Native violets, foamflower (Tiarella), Mother of thousands (Tolmia), and fringe cup (Tellima) are also good candidates.

So are all sorts of “weeds,” which are so often more appreciated by insects and other critters than by control-oriented gardeners. The bugbank that supports a few thistles will also support goldfinches, and those dockweeds, buttercups, and dandelions are always in hot demand among the non-human garden users. Most garden herbs are equally popular and often have a haze of humming insects over them in midsummer, including tiny hoverflies and even moths by night.

Making A List, Planting It Twice

Many years ago I attended an exciting workshop on beneficial insects at Interbay P-Patch. The presenter, Sean Phalen, was then the Site Coordinator at Seattle’s Judkins P-Patch, and he had carefully documented the P-Patch’s most popular plants for pollinators through the year. Sean arranged his list of nectar-producing flowers by blooming season to help gardeners make appropriate and attractive planting choices.

Sean’s Plants For Attracting Beneficial Insects

Key
 
P= perennial;   B=biennial; no notation=annual;   I=intermittent through the year;  F=through to frost;   **=super nectar producer

ULTRA EARLY (through winter)

Autumn croci (**; P; pulchellus, albus, zonatus…)
Hardy cyclamen (**; P; neapolitanum, hederifolium, coum…)
Helebores (P)
Mahonia (**; P, I)
Snowdrops (**; P)
Aconite (**; P)
Borage (I, **)
Calendula (I, **)
Earliest narcissici (**P)

EARLY

Snow crocus species (**; P)
Early daffodils and narcissi (**; P)
Species tulips (**;  P; tarda, hageri…)
Glory-of-the-snow (**: P; Chionodoxa)
Iris reticulata (**; P)
Rosemary (P, **)
Primrose ( P; early)
Bolting cruciferae (**)

MID-SPRING

Single daffodils (P)
Species primrose (P)
Scillas (**; P)
Violets (P; **)
Violas ( P, I, **)
Anemones (**; P; Spring-St. Brigid’s mix, monarch de caen…)
Alyssum (annual-I; and perennial; **)

HIGH SPRING

Late Single Daffodils (**;P)
Tulips-single (P)
Dutch iris
Aquilegia (P;columbine)
Armeria maritima (P; **; native-sea pinks)
Candytufts (annual-F, &P, **)
Dianthus (sweet Williams, some F; and per.pinks)
Creeping phlox ( P; **;incl. native P. subulata)
Campanulas (P)
Centaurea (**; A-I; &P)
Digitalis (**:  B; foxglove)
English daisy (B; **;bellis)
Godetia ( F; **;s summer’s herald-native)
Clarkia (F; **; native-mountain garland)
Linaria (F; **0
Lupines  (A&P)
Lunaria (B; money plant)
Pyretheum ( P; painted daisy)
Saponarias (P; soapwort)
Stocks (F, **)
Cal. Bluebells (**, Phacelia campanularia)
Nemophila (**)
Tidy tips (**)
Myosotis ( B; **; forget-me-nots)
Poppies-single (all, A &P, **, California poppies-I)
Sweet peas (**ù)

EARLY SUMMER

Anagalis ( P; blue pimpernel)
Bidens (P; golden goddess)
Achilleas ( P; I; F; **; incl. native A. millefolium)
Nasturtiums (F, **)
Chives (**; P; both garlic and regular)
Parsley (**: B)
Cilantro (**)
Erigeron
Dill (**)
Mints (**)
Dymorphotheca ( F; African daisy)
Dahlberg Daisy (F)
Shasta Daisy-single ( some F)
Geranium ( some F; NOT Pelargonium)
Gilia ( **; birds eyes)
Purple tansy (**; Phacelia tanecetifolia)
Silene (**; P;  catchfly)
Hesperus matronalis ( P;  **; sweet rocket)
Linums (**; A & P)
Lobelias (A- F; &P)
Monarda (**; P)
Nepetas ( **; P;F; catnip, catmint…)
Potentillas (P, F)
Spireas (P)
Viscaria (**; rose angel)
Thyme (**; P)

HIGH SUMMER

Agastaches (**; P; licorice mint…)
Asclepias (**; b-fly weed)
Asters-single (A&P; F; **)
brachymone ( F; swan river daisy)
Basils (**)
Catananche (P; cupid’s dart)
Centranthus ( P; F; jupiter’s beard)
Cleome ( F; spider flowerù)
Annual chrysanthemum (F)
Convolvulus (F)
coreopsis (F; **)
Cosmos ( F; ; A&P)
Dianthus ( F; A &P; carnations, ann. pinks… singles)
Eupatorium ( **; joe pye weed)
Gaillardia (F; **;  A & P)
Gazania (transvaal daisy)
Hollyhocks-singles (**; P, B & A; singles)
Marigolds ( **; F; singles-“gem” series T. signata)
Summer savory
Zinnias ( **; F; singles; Africans “profusion”series)
Salvias and sages ( some F; **; A & P)
Oreganos ( **; P)
Malvas (P)
Mimulus
Penstemons ( P; some F; incl. natives)
Gauras ( P; F; **)
Phlox ( F; A & P)
Physostegia (F; P;  obedient plant)
Portulaca (F)
Sunflowers-singles ( **; F; A & P)
Tahoka daisy (**; F)
Torenia (F; wishbone flower)
Trachymene ( F; **;blue lace flower)
Verbenas ( F; **; A&P)
Verbascums (**; P)
Veronias ( P; **; F; speedwell)
Lilies (**; P)
Daylilies-singles (**,P;some F)

LATE SUMMER

Asters-singles ( F: A&P: late)
Amaranthus (F)
Echinaceas (**; P; F; coneflowers)
Calliopsis( **; F)
Rudbeckias-singles (**; F; P;  black-eyed susans)
Ratibida (**; F; P; prairie coneflower)
Ornamental grasses (P- nesting material)
Oenothera (**; P; F; evening primroses)
Sedums (**; F; P; incl. natives)
Early, single mums (F; P)
Tithonia (**; F; Mexican sunflower)
Solidagos (**; F; goldenrods)

FALL

colchicums (**; P)
late single mums (F; P)
late sedums (**:F; P)
fall anemones(**; F; P)
saffron crocus (**;P; all autumn crocus)….

Peace and plenty for pollinators!

Posted in pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening | Tagged | 3 Comments

Planting For The Planet

Designing A Wholesome Future

A few days ago I joined friends in a cider pressing party, cutting up hundreds of apples from their little home orchard. The apples were a mix of drops and hand picked late ripeners, of several varieties, some lost to local history. The younger folks brought bushel after bushel to the press, tossing them into a kiddy wading pool for a quick rinse. Next they got a bleach water bath, then a second rinse in warm water; after years of freezing hands at cider time, some brilliant person hooked the hose up to the washing machine and now warm water makes the apple chopping a lot more fun. Cheerful people chopped and edited, removing bits with insect damage, rot and mammal bites to the pig bucket.

All afternoon, gallons of cider flowed into catch basins to be filtered and bottled. The pleasant scene was much like many I’d experienced over the years with one notable exception: no wasps. No wasps buzzed amongst the fallen fruit in the orchard. No wasps followed sticky, sweet-scented workers or crawled curious over the bottling area. This lack made the process less fraught with sting potential but also felt immensely sad. All over the state, the country, the world, insects are vanishing at a rate we humans can’t fathom.

Where Have All The Insects Gone

Bees, wasps, hoverflies, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, all these and more are dying off faster than we can identify them. Scientists have cataloged about a million terrestrial invertebrates, but suspect that at least four million more remain unknown. Lack of identity is no protection, and even insects with protected status are not safe; Rodolfo Dirzo, a Stanford ecologist, writes that 42 percent of 3,623 of terrestrial invertebrate species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List are close to extinction.

This worldwide problem has multiple causes, but human activity is (surprise!) at the root of them all. The vast amounts of pesticide used in agribusiness, the increasing use of insect-resistant GE crops, widespread loss of habitat and urban sprawl are all major factors. A National Institutes of Health report reveals that US farmers use 1 billion pounds of pesticides each year and approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide. GE crops wipe out many non-target casualties. Every day, wild land is turned to plowed fields or monoculture food production, parks and parking lots, malls or housing developments. Insects are the initial losers, followed closely by the plants and critters that depend on insects for pollination or meals. We humans are also impacted and will be more so as the destruction continues.

Bring Back The Lost

If this all feels hopeless, it’s heartening to know that we gardeners can make a genuine difference right now. All of us can preferentially choose food and clothing made from organically grown crops, but anyone with a meadow or a backyard or even a windowbox can also provide food and shelter for local insects. Even the tidy minded can set aside an area to be a Bug Bank, filled with plants that local beneficial insects can chew and sip and make homes amongst. Let a little land go wild and the wild will return. Turn a pocket lawn into a meadow and insects will make a home for themselves. Let a lot of land return to nature and natural communities will reestablish.

I’m reading a delightful book called A Cottage And Three Acres by Colette O’Neill, an Irishwoman who spent the past 17 years bringing her small holding into radiant health. When she bought it, the land s was degraded and dying, so she set out to create a haven for living creatures. Once the cottage roof was mended, her first priority was to heal the land, starting with improving drainage on her boggy, soggy land. Rather than a natural bog, O’Neill’s land had once been cultivated, but years of erosion from the logged hill behind her property had turned it into a wasteland where little grew and nothing thrived. The driveway and paths became a series of French drains filled with local limestone gravel. Her skillful local “digger man” restored lost streams and ponds that slowed the rush of the abundant water.

Big Permaculture; Plant First For Insects

As the soil began to breathe again, she spread layers of compost and mulch, using whatever local materials she could grow, gather, and glean. Living fences were woven from hedgerow cuttings. Hundreds of trees and shrubs were planted and the dying land came back to life. Thrilled by this process, O’Neill developed a design process that focused on promoting permaculture for insects and birds as well as people. Hopefully it’s obvious that no toxic chemicals can be used in haven gardens, and that sharing with insects means putting up with some chewed foliage and leaving cocoons, egg cases, and insect nests undisturbed.

It’s probably also obvious that as many locally native fodder and nectar plants as possible should be planted. Consult local nurseries and native plant societies as well as the Xerxes Society’s excellent website (https://xerces.org/) for lists of appropriate plants to support both insects and birds. Plants for people should be selected for adaptability to local conditions as much as for good looks or great productivity. Again, a certain amount of sharing must be acceptable, though you may want to build insect-accessible caged growing areas for edibles you need to harvest for human use. Even if permaculture is not possible, we can all plan gardens to support bees and other pollinators, including bats and birds. We can also work with local governments, parks, school districts, churches, and land trusts to create insect havens throughout our communities. Start small, then expand. Do more. Keep going. Let’s get the buzz on!!

https://e360.yale.edu/features/insect_numbers_declining_why_it_matters

Pesticides Use and Exposure Extensive Worldwide – NCBI – NIH
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946087/

 

Posted in composting, Drainage, Garden Prep, Growing Berry Crops, Health & Wellbeing, pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment