View Full Version : recommended plantings?
02-21-2009, 08:32 PM
Are there any other plants/crops anyone would suggest for bees other than buckwheat, sweet clover, alfalfa, dutch clover for my area? I guess it's a two part question - what would be good for just the bees? and is there anything out there that could be worth something as a crop or seed that the bees could add value to?
My family organic cash crops - winter wheat, spring wheat, oats, and flax mostly. We also make hay and have experimented with buckwheat. Buckwheat does well and I will always plant a few acres for the bees, but it's hard to find a market for in my area.
We are in Zone 5 - with a wide array of soil types and moisture
02-22-2009, 04:11 AM
02-22-2009, 08:01 AM
Very good, Big John. A really fine link.
02-22-2009, 08:06 AM
You could plant anything that is in the mustard and crusifer family
Plus you can eat some of plants before they bloom
02-22-2009, 12:20 PM
How about Black locust? Grow the trees for fence posts and the bees love them when they bloom. ;)
02-22-2009, 07:53 PM
Garlic, sunflowers and the vitex bush are a good choice. Jack
02-25-2009, 08:31 PM
Mints, herbs and other such as well as fruit trees.
How do purple cone flowers fare up there? Russian sage? Butterfly bush, bee bee bush?
02-25-2009, 10:24 PM
isn't that pie cherry country you are in?early bloom,as long as springs are not to rainy for bees to be flying.
02-28-2009, 07:35 AM
Sorry, I didn't see your replies
Bees4u - mustard is, unfortunately, quite prevalent here on the Island - a couple of types - ones is invasive - Garlic Mustard. While, the bees may not mind it - it's not good in the crops and it crowds out other native plants. Another invasive, Hairy Vetch, the bees like - but it's difficult to harvest and there isn't much of a market for it.
Brooksbeefarm - does Garlic have a flower? - what would that honey taste like?
I would have to stay awake all night with a gun to keep the whitetail deer out of the sunflowers - I tried that last year and they ate 10+ acres in a couple nights just before it reached knee-high.
notaclue - those grow here, with a lot of personal attention - but they aren't something for mass plantings.
justin - this is indeed cherry country - something like 10% of cherries grown in the US is in Door County. We haven't gotten into the fruit business, being organic in this - "the land of bugs" for fruit trees' - I don't see it happening. It would be a HUGE investment to raise cherries. We don't have the equipment, or the storage - there aren't any cherry trees on the Island. I would like to try a few fruit trees, but we don't have the assests to grow any decent amount of them.
I've thought about Canola - I'm not sure how to plant and harvest it. I guess it isn't a very good quality honey, crystalizes easily. Any thoughts? Thanks for the replies.
03-02-2009, 06:33 AM
Another invasive, Hairy Vetch, the bees like - but it's difficult to harvest and there isn't much of a market for it.
Are you sure it's not crown vetch? I've seen that behave "invasively", but have never seen or heard of hairy vetch in this area. Just planted some last summer.
03-02-2009, 07:23 AM
It is an invasive - one that is directly related to this family. It was in some seed that my dad planted back in the early 80's - it spreads like crazy up here - almost as bad as mustard, in some ways it's worse. It climbs on top of the wheat and can plug up the combine - we are having trouble finding a place to separate the seed out from the wheat.
We just called it purple vetch until two years ago, then we had a guy come up here that owns an organic fertilizer business and does some consulting - he said it was Hairy vetch, that it puts N back in the ground - a legume - and is used as a planting on hillsides to prevent erosion and as green manure.
03-03-2009, 10:32 AM
Around here it's all crown vetch for those purposes, my dad used it on the manure pit slopes to hold them. I don't think the bees like crown, I'm hoping the hairy will bloom between the fruit/dandelions and clover.
03-03-2009, 11:42 AM
Locally the current plant being pushed as a native for foragers is Partridge Pea Chamaecrista fasciculata. If you are putting areas under green manure for multiple seasons it does reseed itself and as a legume provides that N boost for follow-on crops. We also have a single, short flow in comparison (I'm told) to many other locations. The Partridge Pea flowers for us from mid-July through mid-September extending food availability.
03-03-2009, 12:50 PM
It is the hairy vetch that's here according to those links - definately the first one. The Hairy vetch blooms later here, after the clover and alfalfa - early to mid-July. The Bees do like it, it's supposed to be a light mild honey.
My dad had heard about that pea - but an organic consultant said it wouldn't work for us - not sure of the reasoning - thanks though - I think I'll look into it some more
03-03-2009, 01:10 PM
Jesse - Keep us up-to-date. I'd like to know what you find out about the partridge peas.
03-04-2009, 12:57 PM
The Hairy vetch blooms later here, after the clover and alfalfa - early to mid-July.
Drat! By any chance, do you know if those are plants started the previous fall/summer?
03-04-2009, 04:47 PM
I will do that, I've been reading up what I can online - I like the fact that it's a native to the state, although not on the Island - it is expensive seed from what I've found so far, but I'll continue to "investigate"
I don't think it matters a whole bunch - I remember distinctly a winter wheat field that was planted in the fall of 07 - having a ton of fully bloomed hairy vetch as the wheat was turning brown in the late summer of 08. The plants could have started when we planted the wheat, or in the spring - I'm not sure. Established plants in "wild" unused fields may start a little sooner - but not a whole lot - possibly mid-June the first few flowerets might pop if there is a warm year. The best you (I) could hope for is it to bloom WITH the clover/alfalfa.
But - we stay cooler longer because of being surrounded by Lake Michigan - the apple trees blossom around Memorial day. Soil conditions, rain, sunlight, etc. it may be different for you.
03-06-2009, 11:38 AM
I just ordered a pound of partridge peas and a packet of anise hyssop seed:
03-08-2009, 09:11 PM
That's the same website I was looking at to buy seed! and those were the two I was going to try, I'm going to keep looking for a little while - I have a few acres I can to with whatever I want and still haven't made up my mind.
This is what I'm thinking so far -
put the hyssop by the house - the partridge pea in the corner of a 1.5 acre field, the rest in ladino clover - then the other field (about 5 acres) in buckwheat.
I've thought about canola instead of buckwheat - but there isn't anyone around here that's grown any
03-08-2009, 09:31 PM
Asparagus(jersey knight hybrid) provides lots of pollen but I'm not sure about nectar. I know of a chef in Door county that would take all I can grow(mines organic but not certified) if I could get it to him fresh everyday. Shipping is the factor so far stopping me. Could hook you up(in three years after planting). Nice cash crop after established($5.00 to $7.00 lb.)
03-09-2009, 04:56 PM
Chicory, birdsfoot trefoil, alfalfa, white sweet clover, yellow sweet clover, goldenrod, aster, crocuses, smartweed, tulip poplars, black locust, basswood, tupelo, gum, fruit trees...