After my Calexit escape from unaffordable housing in San Diego, I have decided to start a national "SIP pollinator garden" project. If you are not familiar with the acronym, SIPs are sub-irrigated planters that are perfect for creating pollinator habitats in urban environments.
We currently have a national crisis regarding a decline in pollinators that are essential to growing food. You have probably read about it. This is what the White House had to say about the crisis. Here is a PDF: Download Fact Sheet: The Economic Challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations | whitehouse.gov
A key to the magic of all SIPs is that they have a water and oxygen reservoir directly below the pollinator plants. You might think of it as a bubble or scuba tank. Using SIPs the only other things needed for the plants to prosper are a place in the sun and a minimum of human care. No green thumb necessary!
Even a young child can learn how to grow flowers in SIPs. They are totally kid friendly. Kindergarten (or earlier) would be a good time to start teaching children about them. If so they will become adults who know how to use simple technology to grow both flowers and food wherever they are.
Following are photos of the first beta-test SIP pollinator gardens. They are working spectacularly so far. The flowers are healthy and the first watering lasted an entire week in very hot weather. I sheltered them during showers to rule out water added by rainfall.
There will be a side by side test of SIPs like these using the same boxes with drain holes some time in the future. Who knows how many times you would need to water traditional flower boxes like these over the course of a week. Probably daily or every other day depending on local climate.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.
SIPs clearly demonstrate that it is long past time to end our national addiction to traditional drain hole "pots" that waste water, plants, time and consumer's patience. They were fine in horse and buggy days of long ago but not in these days of climate change and severe droughts.
One of the primary goals of this project is to introduce STEM-based SIP pollinator gardens to all schools in the country regardless of grade level or neighborhood demographics. I am confidant that there is funding available to accomplish this.
Stay tuned for much more about this project in the coming days.
I have started a SIP Pollinator Garden album on Flickr and will post many more photos to it as this blog series progresses.
The album will be similar to the very popular album about the sub-irrigated patio garden in San Diego.