Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Creating an Insectary Garden to attract beneficial insects

I'm creating an Insectary Garden to attract beneficial insects to our property. I have a spot on the south side of our veggie garden which curves around rather like an upside down question mark. It already has a mature comfrey and several fennel plants on one end, a Mr. Lincoln rose bush, butterfly bush, some lemon thyme, sage and a red geranium.

So I have a good start, but the bare spots are worse than bare. They're rock hard, depleted and full of weeds and Bermuda grass. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm excited about this new project.

I've been studying beneficial insects and how to attract them for years, so I have some things in place. But ever since I came across the idea of planting an special garden for them, I have a renewed enthusiasm for this particular aspect of organic gardening.

Fennel is a good insectary plant as it is a member of the Apiaceae family. Formerly known as the Umbelliferae family. I like the old name better because it has umbrella in the word, which is how the flower of these plants are shaped, only upside down. Members of this family provide the flowers needed by parasitic wasps. 

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