Celebrate Earth Day All Week

Yesterday was Earth Day. This was the first nice weekend day that was not cold or snowy. My family and I celebrated by hiking at Pioneers Park through the Fleming Woods. It was a beautiful day, we saw many migrating birds and early blooming wildflowers. Blooming now is cut-leaf toothwort, white fawn lily and false rue anemone.

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Here are a few suggestions to celebrate Earth Day this week:

Plant a tree. Trees for Lancaster County Nebraska:

https://lancaster.unl.edu/factsheets/282.htm

Recycle. Most large cities have drop off recycling sites.

Lincoln NE: https://lincoln.ne.gov/city/pworks/solid-waste/recycle/dropoff-sites.htm

Go outside and celebrate.    Attend Lincoln Earth Day Celebration, Saturday, April 28th, 10 am – 3 pm at Union Plaza, Lincoln NE. More Information: https://lincolnearthday.org/

MJ Frogge

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Fields of White & Gold — GRO Big Red

“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” A.A. Milne Who doesn’t love dandelions? They are the most well recognized flower anywhere you go. 473 more words

“…Early spring pollinators need a balanced diet much like people. Too much sugar and not enough protein will not provide the queens with essential elements for healthy progeny. White clover does produce nectar but not in the same quantity as dandelions. However, unlike dandelions, the protein content of white clover pollen is high and contains all the essential nutrients needed for pollinator health…”

“…Dandelions and white clover together make for a happy and healthy diet options for pollinators. However, they do not make for a happy homeowner. The last 50 years we have become obsessed with a thick, lush, weed-free lawn. We spray, pull, and weed-out anything that is not turf grass from the lawn. This leaves very little options for our insect friends….”

Learn more. Read Fields of White & Gold — GRO Big Red from our Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy colleagues.

Here’s to sharing the Buzz!

Soni

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Starting Seeds Inside

Last week I started flower and herb seeds under grow lights. Some are already germinated and growing!  Growing your own transplants is a great way to add annuals, perennials and herbs to your landscape for pollinators. I started basil, borage, blue salvia and calendula.

Spindly growth is a common problem when growing transplants indoors. It is best to place the seedlings under artificial light.  It is not necessary to have a grow light plant stand. A standard shop light fixture with one cool and one warm fluorescent tube light works fine. For best results, the lights should be approximately 1 inch above the seedlings. Raise the light as the seedlings grow.  Leave the lights on 12 to 16 hours a day.

Many flowers do well or better as direct planting outside. Plant zinnia and sunflower seeds after the chance for frost has past and the ground temperature is consistently warm, over 55 degrees F. This usually occurs in mid to late May.

MJ Frogge

Snowdrops!

Snowdrops are blooming in my home habitat.  It is one of my favorite plants. We have had snow and ice, but snowdrops can handle this type of weather. This stunning and tough little flower benefits pollinators. If the temperature is above 45 degrees F when it is blooming, you will find honey bees visiting these delightful flowers.Snowdrops blooming 2018

 

Other spring flowering bulbs that benefit pollinators include Scilla, Glory-of-the-Snow and Crocus. Consider planting these bulbs this fall in your pollinator habitat.

MJ Frogge

Resolutions to Help Pollinators

Happy New Year!

Here are a few ways you can help pollinators this year. This is a resolution that will be fun and easy to keep.


Offer a Drink & a Home
Bees need water to drink. Create a water feature with rocks for insects to land. Be sure to keep birdbaths clean and change the water three times per week when mosquitoes are breeding. Build a bee house or insect hotel to provide nesting and shelter for pollinators.
Plant Native
Plant native plants in your landscape. There are so many amazing plants to choose from. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: plains coreopsis, pasque flower, pitcher sage, purple coneflower, smooth aster and rough gayfeather. Do not for get trees and shrubs!
Bloom all Season
It is important to have native flowers blooming the whole growing season. Pollinators need plants blooming March through November.
Plant Milkweed
Monarchs need our help. Provide food for monarch butterfly caterpillars. There are several milkweeds to choose from: butterfly milkweed, common milkweed, whorled milkweed and swamp milkweed.
No Chemicals
Protect pollinators by eliminating pesticides from your landscape. Plant native plants that have few pest or disease issues. Maintain a healthy soil by composting. Healthy soils produce healthy plants.
“Bee” Involved
Learn more about organizations that support pollinators such as Pollinator Partnership. You can participate in citizen scientist programs for pollinators such as Bumble Boosters-University of Nebraska, Bumble Bee Watch-Xerces Society, The Great Sunflower Project-San Francisco State University and the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project-Monarch Watch.

MJ Frogge

Frosty Day in the Habitat

Winter is here at the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. The insect hotel we built in 2013 is still holding up well. It is filled with pine cones, logs, twigs, bark, rolled corrugated cardboard and egg cartons. These items are nice hiding places for insects.  Beneficial insects like lady bugs and lacewing over winter as adults, so they need a place to spend winter months. Consider constructing one in your pollinator habitat next year.

MJ Frogge

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New Educational Signs!

This week Chris finished up installing our new educational signs in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. We had moisture issues and ants nesting in our previous sign frames. Very frustrating!  Jenny helped us with the process of getting replacement frames. These frames were a different size, so new signs needed to be ordered. Vicki updated and ordered our educational signs and when they arrived, Chris installed them.  We are so pleased to have them since they are an important educational features in our pollinator habitat.

MJ Frogge

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Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs

Last week I planted spring flowering bulbs in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. I planted crocus, glory-of-the-snow and grape hyacinth. These spring bulbs are beneficial to early pollinators like honey bees and some native bees. Many of these pollinators are out early in the spring and need these early blooming plants. Spring bulbs are an easy addition to your habitat and you can still plant them, but do it soon!  Other bulbs include snowdrops (my favorite), winter aconite, daffodil, fritillaria and Siberian squill.

MJ Frogge

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Praying Mantid Egg Case

Yesterday was a great fall day to be in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Jody and I were weeding and doing a little bit of clean up. While we were doing this, we found a few Chinese praying mantids egg cases. They are roundish and look like foam. The Carolina mantid egg case is flat, rectangular shaped and smaller. Both mantids are found in Nebraska.

If you find praying mantid egg cases on your plants or in the landscape, you should leave them alone. Each egg case contain up to two hundred eggs. In the spring the nymphs will emerge and they look like tiny versions of adult mantids. These insects are beneficial because they eat insect pests. But they can also eat other beneficial insects as well.

MJ Frogge