Patience is not something I've been blessed with. Boiling water, drying soil, growing plants...they all need to hurry up and get on with it! With the ground saturated, the sky cloudy and the wind cold my patience is wearing thin. Especially after last week's record and near-record highs! Mother nature is such a tease.
Anyway, to fend off some of that anxiousness I did a little research and planning for this project. Today's topics of choice were using plants to ward off insects, attracting pollinators and kids in the garden.
If you don't have pollinators in the garden you won't have a garden. Attracting these helpful insects is rather easy, but there are some tips in this publication that are worth the reminder. It's also a very good primer on pollination (especially if you slept through freshman biology, which I think I might have...)
I've always been wary of using chemicals in the garden and I continue to be. We keep chemical means of eradication (whether it be a plant or insect or critter problem) to a minimum and this publication has a basic overview of design and implementation techniques that can help keep your gardens insect pest free.
I think one of my favorite parts of gardening is watching the wonder in The Kid as he joins along. Okay, as I said before patience is not a virtue I have, nor is the ability to let go my need for 'perfection' and there have been times I've been close to tearing out my hair with him while we work together (?) in the garden. But in the end it's all worth it. Here's an activity publication put out by Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University on how you and your child can become "Insect Investigators". There are nine insects to search for and there are suggestions on how to track your investigations.
Speaking of Reiman Gardens, if you have a day to venture to Ames this is a must see spot. When it's warm out there's lots of room for the kids to run about and when you're tired of being cooped up and cold the butterfly atrium is just what the doctor ordered.
I've spent the afternoon perusing and have found some information about companion plantings on many websites. I've compiled a list of what to plant to repel insects and critters, what to plant to attract the good insects and a couple of other little tips to keep your garden green and not a welcoming home to bad insects. Click here to download my PDF file.
Keep on dreaming, planning and wishing. Mother nature will straighten out soon and we'll be able to plunge our hands into the warm earth and bring forth life.