21st Century Victory Gardens

National Honeybee Day is on August 18th - just a week away! To celebrate, we are continuing the conversation from #NationalPollinatorsWeek (June 18th to 24th) and focusing on how we can help keep Phoenix’s bees happy and healthy. Although we live in a desert climate, Arizona is home to one of the largest and most diverse bee populations - largely due to the vast variety of climates our great state offers (think: Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, Tucson, and beyond). With Maricopa County being the fastest-growing county in the nation, it is up to us to incorporate native plants into new buildings as we continue to expand. But how?

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Victory Gardens started in the 20th Century as part of the WWI and WWII war efforts. In fact, by 1944 nearly 20 million Victory Gardens were producing 40% of fresh fruits and veggies at the time (8 million tons)! But what does this have to do with the bees? Instead of gardening in support of war efforts we are bringing back Victory Gardens to fight climate change - one of the most important issues of our generation. CO2 levels have risen above 400ppm and there is an urgent need to sequester carbon and bring that number to the pre-industrial level of 350ppm. The US population in the 1940s was approximately 132 million, and the current population is well over 326 million. If we are able to replicate the level of scale the original Victory Gardens had, we could create over 40 million climate change gardens.

Modern Victory Gardens are all about helping our climate and our pollinators. This means it is especially important to cater to our desert climate when creating a Victory Gardens. Here are a few outdoor plants that are great for our native environment:

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  • Desert Milkweed
  • Desert Senna
  • Baja Fairy Duster
  • Passion Vine
  • Bloodflower Milkweed
  • Citrus Trees
  • Wolfberry
  • Red Bird of Paradise
  • Tithonia Sunflower
  • Lantana
  • Sky Flower
  • Desert Lavender
  • Sunflowers
  • Queen's Wreath

 

 Start fighting climate change today! By fostering our native climate you are rebuilding the health of our soil, increasing the amount of carbon our ground can hold, building stronger root systems to decrease flooding and runoff during monsoon season, and of course - helping our bee population. These small actions create a BIG difference. Register your Climate Change Victory Garden here, and let us know how YOU are helping the bees in the comments BEE-low!

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