How To Attract Beneficial Insects To Your Garden

While it might seem counter productive to try to attract more pests to your garden when many people are desperately trying to get rid of them, beneficial insects can play an integral part in making your garden even healthier. The fact is, you can use Mother Nature to your advantage by introducing the right kind of insects to your garden. These insects will help to keep the ‘bad insects’ away, which are negatively impacting your garden plus, some will also help to pollinate your plants in order for them to start producing.

1. Be Sure To Do Your Research

You first need to research to find out which insects are beneficial for the plants that you decide to grow and for the climate that you live in. Keep in mind, some of the beneficial insects you might already be familiar with including lady bugs, praying mantis, stink bugs, and even ground beetles.

2. Provide Shade Spots For The Good Insects

While a lot of beneficial insects might patrol and help out your plants the entire day, a lot of them like to remain underground until it’s night time. For these insects, you are going to want to ensure that you provide them with good areas to catch some shade so that they can hide out from the sun. You can do this easily by adding more stepping stones into your garden. Rocks and mulch will also be effective at this. As long as the beneficial insects have safe areas to hide out during those hot summer days, they should be able to help out your garden.

3. Provide Them With Water

Just like humans, insects need water in order to survive. You want to be sure that there is a good water supply for them. If you happen to have a sprinkler system already in place, chances are that they are getting an adequate amount of water already. However, if you do not have one, you will want to try to leave out small bowls in your garden in order for them to get a good amount of water everyday. However, it is important to maintain this daily and change the water frequently because if you do not do this, you will likely attract the wrong kind of insects in your garden.

4. Make Sure That You Ditch The Pesticides

If you are attempting to bring beneficial insects into your garden, you simply need to get rid of pesticides all together. Even organic and pesticides that are marketed as ‘safe’ are going to be damaging to beneficial insects. By getting rid of pesticides all together, this will keep the good insects alive and well.

5. Create The Right Habitat

Bee works hard on the yellow flower

Bee works hard on the yellow flower

You will have to experiment with the different types of plants and flowers that you will need to plant in order to attract the right insects to your garden. You can create a habitat near your main garden to keep these beneficial insects close by, even after they have done the job on your garden. You just have to be careful that you don’t make it too good for them, otherwise, they may not want to travel to your garden for a good meal.

6. Buy Them

A lot of people might not want to spend all of the time that it might take to attract the beneficial insects and that is fine. If you want immediate results, you can purchase beneficial insects from a local garden supplier or shop, and you can even buy them online. This is a great way to get started if you cannot get the desired results on your own. However, to make sure they stay in your garden, be sure to follow all of the tips above.

As you can see, there is plenty that can be done to bring in and keep beneficial insects in your garden. It will take some time to figure out what works best for your particular garden and it may vary each year. Just be sure to implement all of the tips above for your best chance at a fruitful and healthy garden.

Jonathan Leger is a member of the Garden Writer’s Association and a gardening enthusiast. He runs a site dedicated to the history, education and care of knockout roses at

Simplify the Holidays

The holidays, meant to be a time of peace, reflection, and celebration, too often exhaust rather than uplift us. If you sometimes feel trapped by the shopping, spending, and frenzied preparations, you aren’t alone.

Do you want more of what matters, not just more stuff? This year, you don’t have to rack up credit card debt or get swept up in the season’s commercialism. Say a big “no” to big ticket items. Instead consider creating holidays that instill more sharing, laughter, creativity and personal renewal.

The Center for a New American Dream has put together a “Simplify the Holidays” campaign to help you get started:


By Ursula Le Guin

Very slowly burning, the big forest tree
stands in the slight hollow of the snow
melted around it by the mild, long
heat of its being and its will to be
root, trunk, branch, leaf, and know
earth dark, sun light, wind touch, bird song.

Rootless and restless and warmblooded, we
blaze in the flare that blinds us to that slow,
tall, fraternal fire of life as strong
now as in the seedling two centuries ago.

Source: Orion Magazine

Sherry Turkle – Alive Enough? Reflecting on Our Technology

Each of us, in our everyday interactions, chooses between letting technology shape us or shaping it toward human purposes, even toward honoring what we hold dear. Sherry Turkle, director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, is full of usable ideas — from how to declare email bankruptcy, to creating sacred spaces, to teaching our children the rewards of solitude.

Source: On Being: Civil Conversations Project — A public forum providing ideas and tools for healing our fractured civic spaces.

Could an Organic Twinkie Be Nutritious?

We tend to agree that an organic apple is more nutritious than a non-organic apple. Does it follow that an organic Twinkie is more nutritious than a non-organic Twinkie. Would we unconsciously elevate the Twinkie to the nutritional level of an apple if it had on organic label on it?

Organic has become big business. Conscious consumers demand it. Food manufacturers capitalize on it. We eat it.

Organic used to imply small-scale, local, nutritious and sustainable. Hijacked by industrial food processors, the notion of an organic Twinkie, once considered the “ultimate food irony,” has become a reality with items like organic frosted toaster pastries popping up in supermarket shelves.

How did organic lose its roots? Joan Dye Gussow, named the “matriarch of the eat-locally-think-globally food movement” by the New York Times, explains how organic became all about process instead of product beginning with the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 (OFPA).

In 1996, during the time the National Organic Standards Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture were implementing regulations for OFPA, she wrote Can an Organic Twinkie Be Certified? Decrying the proliferation of food products manufactured in organic guise, she showed how the ingredients in a Twinkie could be slightly modified to make it certified organic.

“What is it about the idea of an organic Twinkie that so appalls the rest of the organic community?” she asks. “We should probably start with health. Surely any organic food ought to be healthy. There’s no need to debate whether — all other things being equal — an organic apple is demonstrably more nutritious than an apple raised non-organically. All other things are almost never equal enough to prove that definitively. But we feel instinctively that organic foods ought to be nutritious, and a Twinkie — composed almost entirely of refined carbohydrate and fat tarted up with artificial colors and flavors — doesn’t seem to fit any definition of nutritious that would satisfy.”

Joan’s article gives insight into the true meaning of organic and how the organic label should have evolved to assure us that “appropriate scale, localness, community control, personal knowledge, good nutrition, social justice, broad citizen participation, close grower/eater relationships and farmer connections with schools and communities were embedded in what we ate.” However, “When a certified organic Twinkie or its equivalent turns up in the supermarket it will be a signal that organic no longer carries such assurances.”

> Read the full article:

About Joan Dye Gussow

Joan Dye Gussow, EdD, is Professor emerita and former chair of the Nutrition Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she has been a long-time analyst and critic of the U.S. food system. In her classic 1978 book The Feeding Web: Issues in Nutritional Ecology, which tracked the environmental hazards of an increasingly globalizing food system, she foreshadowed by several decades the current interest in relocalizing the food supply. Her subsequent books include The Nutrition Debate (1986), Chicken Little, Tomato Sauce and Agriculture (1991), and This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader (2001), the latter based on the lessons learned from decades of working toward growing her own. Her 2010 book, Growing, Older, is as its subtitle suggests, a garden-based collection of “reflections on death, life and vegetables”.


Health and Wellness in America Report

Health and wellness is going mainstream and national marketers are taking notice. They have begun to research the health and wellness market, creating consumer profiles, including segmentation personas, that quantify consumer health aspirations and purchase behaviors.

Although the research instigates expedient marketing strategies by big manufacturers and retailers, local merchants can benefit by being aware of emerging trends in consumer behavior.

A 2014 study by Nielsen and the Natural Marketing Institute, Health and Wellness in America: The Consumer Perspective, identifies five consumer segments grouped by health attitudes and behavior:

Well Beings comprise 19 percent of the American population and serve as trend predictors, opinion leaders and key influencers on health and wellness topics. As the most health-proactive segment, they record the highest usage of many healthy foods and beverages. They demonstrate a concern for the environment and integrate many health modalities into their lifestyles.

Food Actives comprise 18 percent of the population and can be described as a “mainstream healthy group” – dedicated to health through healthy eating, managing weight and exercise based on a more traditional and balanced outlook toward health and wellness. While they want inherently healthy foods, that desire is offset by price sensitivity and late new product adoption.

Magic Bullets comprise 23 percent of the population and prefer to manage health with “medicine” rather than commit to a healthy lifestyle via foods/beverages. Reporting the heaviest reliance on both prescription drugs and supplements, these “conveniently healthy” consumers nevertheless express concern about and manage their weight. Magic Bullets tend to address developed health conditions reactively with a pill, rather than work to prevent them through diet, exercise and food.

Fence Sitters comprise 20 percent of the population and aspire to be healthy but admit to difficulty of juggling kids and the stresses of daily life. They tend to jump on the latest health kick without setting clear goals but look for guidance. This segment is a prime target for easy, convenient and healthy food solutions.

Eat, Drink & Be Merrys comprise 20 percent of the population and remain indifferent towards healthy eating or initiating most healthy lifestyle activities. They remain unconcerned about prevention and when given a choice, they value taste over health benefits when food shopping. Adding to their barriers, they are price sensitive.

The Health and Wellness in America report provides interesting insights into how consumers approach heath differently. Use it as a guide when planning marketing communications for your business.

> Download the Health and Wellness in America: The Consumer Perspective report.

BoomAgers: Marketing’s Next Home Run

The largest, wealthiest generation in history is now retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day a trend that will continue every day for the next 17 years. The better part of the nearly 80 million Baby Boomers are now in the process of “reverse commuting” — shifting their focus from the workplace to the home-place.

Marketing’s Next Home Run, a thought leadership report from the Natural Marketing Institute and BoomAgers, crunches key baby boomer demographic data to show how aging boomers are redefining aging. The report divides the generation into six categories that encompass diverse lifestyles and emotional triggers:

  • The Medonists are pleasure driven and focused on living every moment to its fullest.
  • The Forever Young are driven to live a life free of limitations.
  • The Me My Body are focused on maintaining a healthy body as the key to a happy, productive life.
  • The Higher Consciousness seek balance and spirituality.
  • The Mind Expansion are intellectually driven and pursue growth and continuous learning.
  • The Rags to Riches seek material rewards and view accomplishment as the measure of personal success.

Despite their diversity, BoomAgers share a desire for a home-centric lifestyle. They’re re-focusing on life at home and looking for simplicity, enjoyable experiences, healthier living and quality of life that synchronize with life at home.

Here are two reports that shed light on BoomAgers:

Benefits of Listing Your Business in a Niche Directory

A niche directory listing is one of the most effective and least expensive ways to get targeted traffic from the exact customers you’re trying to reach. Search engines put a lot of weight on topic-related backlinks, and being listed in a high-ranking niche site, which is monitored by humans, is invaluable.

Wholylocal is the niche directory for local businesses that align with lifestyles of health and sustainability. Unlike general directories, Wholylocal provides more targeted traffic and more relevant link value.

Six Benefits of a Wholylocal Listing

Cost Effective
Annual fees are purposefully affordable. at $240/year — that’s only $20/month or 68¢/day — members get a robust directory platform, organic SEO, paid SEM and local media presence.

Targeted Traffic
Visitors to Wholylocal are looking for local, healthy and sustainable businesses. They are highly targeted for your products and services.

SEO Boost
With frequently updated content, multiple inbound and outbound links, and structured local data, Wholylocal is crawled often by search engines, listing your business in Wholylocal boosts your SEO strategy.

Relevant and Quality Backlinks
Because Wholylocal has content that relates to you business, a link to your website from Wholylocal is given a high value by search engines.

Association with Quality
Business listings on Wholylocal are carefully reviewed before going live on the site. Only quality listings make it into the directory.

Manual Maintenance
All listings on Wholylocal are maintained manually by Wholylocal. No bots at work here. Listings are optimized and well-categorized to provide a good user experience.


GMOs — genetically modified organisms — pervade as much as 80% of conventional processed food in the United States. How do these miracle seeds, propagandized as the seeds to feed world, affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice?

These and other questions take filmmaker Jeremy Seifert to Haiti, Paris, Norway and the lobby of agra-giant Monsanto. Along the way he gains insight into a question that is of growing concern to citizens the world over: what’s on your plate?

I just watched the film on Netflix. It’s a good one.

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