by Betty Struckhoff
At our chapter’s monthly meeting on March 7, a guest who is very active in the retail nursery community raised an interesting question. He noted that the hottest thing in the nursery business right now is planting for edibles. He would like to see native landscaping become just as hot. His question: Is there any evidence that a native landscape will support an edible garden?
I went home and decided to unwind by re-reading part of Doug Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home. There was an answer right in Chapter 8 — Creating Balanced Communities. A native landscape will create a system of predators for common pests in vegetable gardens, such as the tobacco hornworm, which attacks tomato plants. Parasitic braconid wasps will attack and kill hornworms. But they won’t be around for the first generation of hornworms unless other prey are nearby — such as the Pandora sphinx larva. To help create this natural community, plant a native landscape!
Does anyone have other examples of how natives can support an edible garden? What about pollinators?