Ask a Question forum: What to plant? Food or pollinators?

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Apr 7, 2017 3:35 PM CST
Thumb of 2017-04-07/Jimfirewalker/8b716e

So I am operating on the following premises at this time:

Minimal involvement of any others.
Minimal time for daily interaction.


Maximum benefit to the community and surrounding area.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Apr 7, 2017 5:16 PM CST
Due to your time constraints, I'd say plant a butterfly garden. Good sturdy perennial plants that will attract pollinators, look beautiful and require minimal maintenance once they're established. Any edibles you plant will take a lot of water, fertilizer and work to bear any worthwhile amount of food. Other than possibly a row of tomatoes.

Good thing you have a drip irrigation system there, though. I know how hot and dry it gets in Reno!

@Daisyl is another member that lives in Reno. I'll bet she's got some more specific good suggestions for you.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
Deer Bookworm Keeper of Poultry Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Georgia
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Apr 7, 2017 5:19 PM CST
Please consider asking your local Boy Scout leaders if some of the Scouts would like to help.

Native wildflowers would make the butterflies happy; sounds good.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
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Apr 7, 2017 5:26 PM CST
With only you, I think you should plant for pollinators and beauty. Perennials can do it on their own, mostly. At least, you can plant in spring, cleanup once over winter if they all die back then. Not much fuss. (Not sure how your climate alters this, I am coming from East Coast seasons.)
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)

Apr 7, 2017 8:33 PM CST
Good responses thus far. I am basically a recovering engineer. I like to build things. Hence, why I set the garden up with a drip system!

I like the idea of a butterfly garden with perennials. Guess the next stop would be to talk specifics with a Master Gardener. I am not invested in what type of plants so long as they promote pollination for the area (I figure it should help with at least a mile in diameter) thereby helping the fruit trees, bees, and butterfly's. Plus add beauty!!!

Thank you for the responses thus far.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Apr 7, 2017 9:02 PM CST
Hi Jimfirewalker, Welcome!

I planted my backyard to attrack birds and butterflys. I planted a lot of showy perennials and then tossed annual wildflower seeds in to fill in the blanks.

I have Daylilies, Lupins, Beebalm, Veronica, Perennial Foxgloves, Gayfeather, Peony, Yarrow, cold hardy Alstromeria... I added in California poppies, Johnny Jumpups, Fivespot, Flax (turns out Blue Flax is perennial). The entire garden is on drip. I also put in a couple small ponds so the birds have a place to drink and bathe. They are fed by the drip system. I planted some moisture loving plants were the ponds drain.

The yard pretty much takes care of itself. I just got done going through the whole yard to clean out the winter debris and prune a couple shrubs (Sun Azalea, Rose of Sharon, Red Twig Dogwood and some dwarf Butterfly bushes). In a couple weeks, I'll toss out some slow-release fertilizer. Then I will sit back and watch the magic. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4b)
Apr 7, 2017 9:12 PM CST
Is this a community garden that has lost interest? What happens if you plant perennials and the garden becomes popular again? Will you have to pull the plants?

Apr 8, 2017 10:58 AM CST
Yes. This is a community garden. I actively mentored it for the first 5 years with another. Then due to life getting in the way I had to step back. Most of my community here is pretty old and unmotivated. Age is a state of mind that comes from within. Daisyl I love your suggestions.

I am not concerned about pulling up plants or roto tilling. The association will provide for the plants. A call has been put out for participation. I will till the area on the 19th and plant shortly thereafter. I have been the motivating force for a long time. So....

As in life when others abdicate choice I have no problems with stepping up. That said, being the recovering Project Engineer I do my homework and obtain options in order to create something which will add beauty, be mostly self sustaining, help our Earth Mother, and make my heart sing!!!
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Apr 8, 2017 11:05 AM CST
Good for you! I'm sure whatever you plant will be beautiful and appreciated. So many groups stay alive due to one or two people. When those people leave or pull back it all falls apart. Our town lost an astronomy club that way.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!

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