Homeschool Butterfly Garden Project
This week, to coincide with the first snowfall we had the delightful privilege of planting a butterfly garden with a homeschool group. The homeschool butterfly garden project was an education for us in the open-source learning theory. The children in this homeschool group happen to be close family friends, and permaculture farm residents. The addition of native perennials to a permaculture design is a necessary feature. All food production naturally improves with more pollination action. Pollinator insects increase in population and pollinating behavior in the presence of an abundance of native plants.
A few weeks before we planted this butterfly garden, the children of this homeschool group did some site preparation; we used the organic gardening lasagna no-till method of layering cardboard with organic matter like mulch for smothering the turf. It doesn’t take long for the turf to give up and planting into it is a cinch. The no-till method is not just easy, saving humans from the back breaking, miserable labor of de-thatching- the no-till method is also much better for organic soil health! It takes years and years for complicated fungi relationships to unfold in our soils and when we use the rototiller or dethatch an area, we essentially rip right through the earth’s digestive system, unknowingly interrupting a quiet, sophisticated process. (Tilling is acceptable sometimes for vegetable garden when lots of manure or compost is being integrated, sole exception). When we use the no-till method to develop new gardening spaces, over time the cardboard and all the turf plant materials decompose, forming more organic material in the soil and generously adding to our compost wealth.
We used plants that are 100% native to New York State for the butterfly garden, including this lovely Beebalm (Monarda didyma) shown here. Though it seems late in the year to put plants in the ground, native plants are super tough and acclimated to our climate. Late fall planting nicely eliminates any first season maintenance.
Planting a butterfly garden with the homeschool group was a blast- the kids at different ages and abilities cooperated and shared their joy in adding habitat value to their home property. With a couple day’s reflection, I realized that this experience was without question the best way to end the landscaping season.
Want us to design and build a butterfly or pollinator garden with your homeschool group? We’d love to! Drop us some notes on the intake form.