On December 18, 2018 the garden manager, that's me, made his debut on radio. I talked with Amy Pettit on the program Ag Matters at Radio Free Palmer, The program originally aired at 7:30 AM on December 18, 2018. It is available as a podcast on their website. The program is a half hour and you can listen by clicking on the link Ag Matters. The program name is listed as Rose Memorial Garden but that is the correct program, regardless of the title. If you would like to learn more about the Alaska Farmland Trust click on the name and you will be taken to the website.
A special thank you to Amy for having me as a guest on her program, Ag Matters. Look forward to doing it again sometime.
You certainly want to attract pollinators to your garden. Bees, butterflies, ants, humming birds (yes, we have hummingbirds in Alaska), and other birds as well. There are many warm climate crops that benefit from pollinators. If you grow melons, winter squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, anything that blossoms to set fruit you want pollinators in your garden. If you live in cold climates you may have to hand pollinate in the green house. If you do this a few times you will long to have pollinators to the task for you. The blossoms on potatoes are attractive to bees. While you don't need to pollinate the potatoes for a harvest you still attract them for the other things you do need pollinated.
If you have fruit trees, you certainly want pollinators around. Even in Alaska we grow apples, cherries, pears, and all kinds of berries. You lucky people that can grow citrus certainly need the blossoms pollinated to get good crops.
Flowers are a great addition to the vegetable garden. I inadvertently planted nasturtiums among my squash last summer. They brightened up the endless green of the garden. You could also harvest the blossoms of the nasturtiums to spice up a salad or just to munch on while you work in the garden. You can grow a lot of flowers in the garden just be sure you don't introduce what you might call a weed after a time. If you don't want flowers growing among the vegetables you can plant them along the pathways. You can plant them on the periphery. They not only attract the bees and butterflies but they make your garden look more attractive as well.
When you select these flowers be careful. Sometimes we haplessly introduce invasive species. Non-native plants can sometime reek havoc on the plants native to an area. They tend to take over and fill in the niches that should be reserved for our native plants. If you want an excellent example of an invasive species just look at a field of dandelions any place in the USA. This is an invasive species. It is native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Now it can be found most any place people from Europe settled throughout the world. Here in Alaska vetch and hawkweed are invasive. The European bird cherry (Mayday tree) is taking over our parks and bike trails. If you are not sure about a species check with your local Cooperative Extension Service. They will be glad to provide information. They are a great source of information for anything to do with gardens. All you have to do is ask.