Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Bees & Us.

I often comment that gardeners are not alone when gardening. This is a fundamental fact. Understanding what it means is the key to great gardens.
A thriving garden depends upon the interactions between gardeners, soil, sun, water, pollinators, birds, as well as a very long list of garden friends, including worms and spiders.
The best-known garden helper may well be the honey bee. A honey bee will pull more than its weight when it comes to the garden.
Over the past few years it has become obvious that honey bees are being threatened. Excessive use of synthetic chemicals is suspected.
The home gardener can help the pollinators. Plan the planting to include pollinator attracting plants. Perennial herbs and self-seeding annuals offer many choices. Also use organic fertilizer and natural means for other garden maintenance chores.
Why the concern over bees? The bees do more than making honey which by itself is a major industry. Honey bees pollinate millions of dollars worth of crops countrywide and their disappearance could cause serious economic damage.

Home gardeners can help by creating gardens or adding plants to their existing gardens that will attract honey bees. How do you recognize a honey bee? Honey bees are hairy, about 1.25 centimetres or 5/8” long and have black and yellow stripes on their abdomens.
The honey bees have made a slight comeback but a serious threat still remains. Not only is the honey bee in danger but the bumblebee, a native bee, is also at task, more about the bumblebee next time.
In Campbellton, if you want more information about how you can help the bees and other pollinators, visit the Campbellton Bee City Facebook page.
The Bee Garden
Seed Suggestions, sweet alyssum, coriander, dill, tansy, corn poppies, and white yarrow.
1.  Add plants to the border of an existing garden bed; simply pick the plants that best match your existing design.
2.  Create a bee garden. Strategically place the bee garden far from the back door. This is to let the bees do their thing.  This should keep them from buzzing around you while you are enjoying the yard.
3.  Sow small amounts of each seed type that you have selected on a well-prepared soil. Follow the instructions on the package for sowing.
4.  Gently water the seeds and be sure to keep the ground moist during the first month or so.
5.  Enjoy, you can pick the herbs and flowers for your own use as long as you leave some for the bees.
There are other insects known as beneficial insects that help your garden grow. A healthy vibrant and productive garden is a place alive with a wide variety of spiders, insects, and birds for example.
The hum and buzz of your backyard will tell you that all is as it should be and your garden is part of nature not an island that has been isolated and struggling to thrive. Next week, the bumblebee and a closer look at pollination, until then happy gardening.

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