Not just any domestic garden, an organically-inclined domestic garden to boot. In our younger years, after we just bought our first, and only house, as it turns out, I had more than enough muscles to go around and could easily plough in, or should that be; dig in, with the old garden spade, fork and pick-axe. Because to be quite honest with you, when we first moved over here, there was not even a weed in sight.
The entire grounds were as barren as the Sahara desert.
That was then, and this is now. Now, you must remember it was quite some years when we started out, so not much thought was given to the importance of doing things organic and sustainably. Back then, I gleefully stocked up on all manner of pesticides and rat and mole repellants that the hardware store owner could arm me with. Today, our home is a lot cleaner, and spic and span, I think is the right phrase, so we only get the odd rat in my over-crowded garage every once in a while.
That’s her first chore of the morning.
The moment I open my garage door in the morning, she is in like a flash, in spite of her rotund feline anatomy. She won’t be killing any rats at this point in time, simply sniffing them out and if she is lucky, chasing the bugger away. Fortunately, rats do not go much in for organic gardens. But bees do. So, today we are going to talk to you a little bit about the importance of bees in domestic gardens. Unlike the root-filled past, there are no, I repeat this with great emphasis, no pesticides in our domestic garden.
I am quite proud of this fact. I am probably a little more chuffed than most at the progress I have made with my organic vegetable garden. Although I must admit that most of the hardy work was done by my wife over the years. You see, while I had been hard at work paying off our mortgage at the office, my wife had already grown a fine pair of resourceful green fingers. True to her resilient form, she has been a gardening enthusiast for most of her life.
The vegetable garden patch is quite modest, it must be said. It is in this carefully cultivated spot that you will find most of our kitchen essentials; think anything from white potatoes to sweet red potatoes, yellow and green squash, red, yellow and green bell peppers, chili, there is more than enough of that, lettuce, kale and cabbage, you name it, it is all there. So by now, you may be thinking how is all this modest.
Well, just wait until you see the rest of the garden. Among all the perennials and my wife’s prized seasonal blossoms, you will find a variety of herb plants. I count these in as part of the organic vegetable garden repertoire. We learned most of our gardening through trial and error, relying on well-thumbed library books, and not being inclined towards utilizing the internet as many of you are, so old fashioned are we, and what we discovered is that this is the one thing that seems to drive bees wild with honey delight.
To my mind, bee-friendly gardens are not complete without a batch of herb-infusions. It is the smells and scents, as well as the plants’ exotic bouquet of colors that attract the bees to the garden. And it must be organic; free of pesticides and any other artificial fertilizers that include chemical balances. For the sake of the bees which you always want to preserve, the garden must be organically cultivated. Harmful pesticides may not necessarily kill the bees, thankfully, they are still quite hardy and adaptable, but just think about it, even if you were a beekeeper, the honey that you will be producing, with a little help from your hardworking bees, won’t, at the end of the day, be organic.
Now, why are bees so important for your domestic spread? Well, in a pea pod, the free-range bees, which you have nothing to do with, really, other than inviting them into your home through your organic gardening initiatives, are contributing audaciously towards keeping your organic garden, well, organic. I often wondered about this until one fresh spring morning I had that eureka moment. I wondered why my kitchen vegetables could grow so easily.
And I wondered why my wife’s herbs spread throughout the garden. Other than just watering them sparingly – we now have water restrictions out our way – she just left her herb plants be. You see what happened. If you are really sharp and that enthusiastic, you can stand inside and watch from your window so as not to disturb them. You will witness first hand just how all the bees flick from plant to plant, tree to tree (we have at least four tall almond trees, among others, in our back garden after I only planted one all those years ago) and spread the love.
It is they that are cross-fertilizing and pollinating your plants. The pollen somehow gets attached to their hairy legs, and as they fly off in search of more nectar or off to their well-hidden hive (a natural den built without any human intervention) the pollen that collected on their legs get scattered as the breeze blows. And before you know, and by the next time spring or the plant’s appropriate shooting season has arrived, you have a new plant.
And yes, my modest contribution still helped somewhat. I continued to mulch my plants’ surroundings with natural decaying leaves, allowing it to ferment as natural compost. This mulching exercise is also quite handy for those dry seasons in the sense that its own moisture collected filters to the water hungry saplings.
And there you go.
You have yet another new mini-garden waiting in the wings.