While the presence of certain insects on your Tower Garden warrants concern, there’s one you should welcome and even invite: The bee. If you grow fruiting plants like tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and peppers, you already know that bees provide the essential service of pollination, which enables flowers to create fruit. (If you’re growing any of these crops indoors, you’ll need to hand-pollinate them.)
With worldwide bee populations in decline, which puts our food supply at risk, it’s important to do everything we can to support bees. Using a Tower Garden helps by growing food with a reduced need for pesticides and adding green oases to urban spaces.
Leigh-Katherine Bonner, founder and CEO of Bee Downtown and a fourth-generation beekeeper, offers more tips for bringing bees to our backyards or patios.
Bees get hot and thirsty on warm days. Setting up a birdbath provides an open water source near your (closed-reservoir) Tower Garden. Birds and bees alike will share the bath, and bees will even take water back to their hives to cool them down.
If you want to be extra kind, place a few wine corks in the birdbath to serve as rafts for bees.
Avoid spraying for mosquitoes
Treating a yard for mosquitoes inadvertently harms beneficial insects as well, and applying pesticide to your yard alone (rather than a full neighborhood) is rarely effective.
If you’re concerned about mosquitoes near your birdbath, change the water every couple of days or install an inexpensive water agitator. You can also use natural mosquito-repellent candles when you spend time in your yard.
Plant bee-friendly flowers
Adding the right flowers to your yard or balcony creates a more attractive, even appetizing, environment for hungry bees. Consider opting for native plants, which are more likely to stay healthy and appeal to the bees in your area. Time their planting so they’ll flower simultaneously with your crops.
Flower shape is also important. Bees prefer broad flowers that provide abundant nectar. Several varieties even grow well in the Tower Garden, so you might consider reserving a spot or two for them!