Thank you Alameda County Resource Conservation District and the National Association of Conservation Districts for a grant to fund installation of pollinator friendly plants at A.P.C.’s Farm2Market
About this Project Ploughshares Nursery offers drought tolerant, edible and native plants for sale to those in the Bay Area to generate revenue for Alameda Point Collaborative housing programs for formerly homeless residents. The Alameda Point Collaborative Farm2Market grows organic, seasonal, and fresh produce for the APC community. It also sells its yield through a C.S.A .program to those in the Bay Area. All funds from both sites go to A.P.C. and its mission of fighting homelessness in Alameda County.
Due to proximity of each site and the collaborative nature of the organization, each site works closely together for program and business purposes. The grant will be used to purchase plants from Ploughshares Nursery to be installed along the A.P.C. Farm’s perimeter. These plants will provide nourishment, reproductive habitat and shelter for bees, native bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial parasitic wasps. This will help Ploughshares improve sales revenue and it will improve productive output at the Farm2Market urban farm by increasing pollination and alleviating work related to pest control issues while benefiting the surrounding neighborhood with the same effects. Farm2Market has been working to rebuild it’s bee hives after colony collapse disorder wiped out most of the bees in 2018. Installation of pollinator friendly plants will insure that Farm2Market bees have a robust year-round food source so they can continue their work of pollinating crops and providing delicious honey for sale.
We hope to complete this project during the Winter of 2019-2020.
The following is a small selection of plants from the Farm2Market Pollinators Project, all are plants which offer food to pollinators in succession.
Ceanothus Frosty Blue
Ceanothus or California Lilac is one of the first things to bloom at end of winter, early springtime. This small nativar grows to 6-8ft high and wide fairly quickly. She is very drought tolerant and can actually be harmed by application of summer water when established. Her nectar rich flowers are a banquet for bees which have been waiting for a rich food source after a long winter. Flower are also high in plant oils and fatty acids, offering a unique form of nutrition for foraging animals. Natives used the oil rich flowers as soap. Plant in full sun and only give water in the cool months of the year when young.
Eriogonum parvifolium SEACLIFF BUCKWHEAT
California Native Buckwheats are essential to the survival of several native butterflies and native bees. Seacliff Buckwheat ranges from the Bay Area to Tijuana Mexico, inhabiting coastal environments and dunes. Expect 3-5ft height and width upon maturity. Flowers appear March through May providing nectar to pollinators.
Eriogonum parvifolium requires FAST draining soil, she grow in sand dunes after all, and may die if exposed to boggy conditions in summer. Every part of this plant is useful to birds and small animals. Lets plant more of this Native Cornucopia in Alameda.
Frangula californica ‘Eve Case’
This nursery-born nativar performs the same function as it’s wild relatives while offering additional eye-candy to the gardener craving native beauty. Expect 6-8ft height and width and plant in full sun or shade anywhere in the cool climate of the East Bay. She requires only moderate water to establish and becomes independent of supplemental water upon maturity in two to three years. White-green flowers appear in Spring attracting and feeding native bees and other friendly pollinators. Green berries follow the flower, turning gold-red and then ripening to black. Birds love the berries and there is debate that the berries were eaten by California native peoples despite their blandness and slight potential to be poisonous (very slight, as in the plant berries are only toxic to a tiny minority of humans who eat them and then only sicken the stomach). Along with Ceanothus, larger specimens of Coffee Berry have been known to host hummingbird nests. Frangula californica is a choice host plant for Pale Swallowtail butterfly.
Salvia mellifera BLACK SAGE
California native sage Salvia mellifera is the key sage species of the California coastal plant communties. Grows quickly to 3ft and slowly thereafter to as much as 6ft high and 10ft wide. Leaves are packed with aromatic oils, natural chemicals Black Sage evolved to repel pest insects and fight off plant pathogens. As such, a barrier of Black Sage can be very effective at discouraging incoming pest species in route to the farms’s succulent agricultural crops. Flowers are small and appear Spring, Summer and again in Winter after a period of dormancy in Fall.
Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds feed on the flower nectar. Seed is an important food source for birds such as Quail. Plant in full sun for lush growth. Water to establish then taper off for drought tolerance in summer.