At The Farm Between, John and Nancy Hayden grow organic fruit and berries for people to eat ― but providing food for insects is almost as high a priority.
Without insects to pollinate their trees and bushes, the Haydens know they would have no fruit business.
To build strong pollinator populations on their 18-acre farm, the Haydens have been cultivating a "pollinator sanctuary," John Hayden explained on a recent stroll between beds of ripening gooseberries, elderberries, currants and other fruits interspersed with fragrantly blooming milkweed, aster, wild roses and white and red clover, among many insect favorites.
"We need to take care of our partners," he said.
In addition to providing their favorite foods, the Haydens also work hard to create housing opportunities for native pollinators on their farm. Dotted around the pastures and plantings are birdhouse-like structures, many with rows of tiny individual round doorways.
In one case the nest is actually hollow reeds packed into a triangular box, each reed a possible condo for a solitary nesting bee. In another, a nesting box is tucked into the base of a raised bed of plant clippings and tree prunings topped with soil and buckwheat, which the Haydens have dubbed Bumblekultur, a play on the German Hugelkultur form of mounded gardening.
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