On May 28th, I received a great email from Casey Gustowarow at Potomac Vegetable Farm. He and his team just planted 1200 milkweed and nectar plants in addition to seeding another area with a native perennial pollinator mix! Here’s the note I receive from Casey:
With some rainy weather last week we could not do farm field work and instead got our pollinator patch planted. I am super excited. I ended up getting about 1200 plugs of wildflowers and native grasses to plant.
We used our bucket loader to scrape away top grass layer and then used cardboard and newspaper to sheet mulch and then covered with thick layer of leaf mulch which we planted into.
Now we will just wait for them to grow.
I also seeded a Xerces pollinator seed mix from Ernst in another area. We will see what happens with them. Some things have germinated but I am not sure how they will compete with the weeds.
Casey and I had met a few months earlier as he was getting plans together to really ramp up some great habitat for pollinators at the farm. As we talked about pollinators and plants, and of course Monarch butterflies, Casey took me on a drive around the farm to look at areas where he planned to plant milkweed and nectar plants.
One thing I especially love about this waystation is how it demonstrates so beautifully that linkage between farming, native plants and pollinators. By planting these great native plants, Casey and his team are putting out the welcome mat to not only attract pollinators but also provide them with shelter and places to reproduce. In return, they will visit the farm plants and we will have food to eat.
If you have a vegetable garden at home, you can apply the very same practice that Casey did. Along your garden plant a waystation, welcome the insects, and don’t spray any pesticides (none, nada!).