Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > March 2017 > IN THE GARDEN with DOUG - THE BUZZ ON BEES

IN THE GARDEN with DOUG - THE BUZZ ON BEES

I find writing this blog on bees quite challenging because I feel that I am at the beginning stage of learning about beekeeping.  I sense that I am in good company when it comes to knowing the basics on how to get started with backyard beekeeping.  But, there is such an interest.  Last week, with our vegetable gardening seminar, I was shocked as to how many in the audience were beekeepers.  Beekeeping is a gardening trend that is growing. 
                Like most everything in life, good education is the key to success.  And, this is very true when it comes to understanding the habits of bees and how we can be successful with beekeeping.
We are now selling beekeeping supplies for those who want to get started.
                THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 11, AT 10:00 WE ARE HONORED TO HAVE THE ROCKWOOD PARK BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION HERE AS OUR GUEST TO GIVE AN EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR ON THE BASICS OF BEEKEEPING.  This is a FREE seminar so all of you are welcome to attend.
                As gardeners, it is our responsibility to reach out and save these yellow pollen-dusted bees from extinction. 
                As for gardening to support our bees, you want to be sure to plant perennials, annuals, and shrubs that bloom in every season in order to provide food for the bees.  Plan your landscape so something is always in bloom.  Here is just a quick list of plants to help our bee population:
                HERBS  -  lavender, catmint, sage, cilantro, thyme, fennel, basil, rosemary, borage, mint, and more.
                ANNUALS  -  calendula, sweet asylum, poppy, sunflower, zinnia, cleome, heliotrope
                PERENNIALS  -  crocus, buttercup, aster, hollyhocks, anemone, snowdrops, geranium, coneflower, daisies, sedum, monarda – just to name a few.
                We need to change our mindset when it comes to dandelions and clover.  We need to stop looking at these two plants as “weeds”.  Actually, the dandelion is one of the first flowers of the late winter / early spring that our bees benefit from.  Clover, with its’ white flower, is a very valuable plant for our bees.  Therefore, both dandelions and clover have more good benefits than bad ones.
                Here are some tips to know and learn in order to become a successful suburban or backyard beekeeper:
  1.  Limit the number of hives.  Most suburban areas are unable to support more than five hives without a decrease in honey production and colony strength.
  2. Provide water as close to the hives as possible.  Bees need water to cool the hive and dilute honey for feeding when nectar is scarce.
  3. Consider planting a hedge row in front of the hives.  This obstruction will serve to force bees to fly above people’s heads and keep hives concealed from sight.  A flowering hedge will also provide another nectar source.
 
Don’t be afraid of the bees…enjoy them!!  It’s fun to watch them fill their tiny legs with bright yellow pollen and take it back to their hives. 
 
                                                                BEE a happy gardener
 
Posted: 3/4/2017 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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