View Full Version : Buckwheat Acreage
06-12-2009, 04:49 AM
I read an article last year about a beekeeper in the southern region of Alabama who planted buckwheat for his bees to have something to work. The thing that peaked my interest was the very short time until bloom stage.
I bought 50 lb. of Mancan and actually sowed a few small plots lasy July 5th - the largest area being maybe 20' x 100'. Due to initial watering and a couple of thunderstorms, my bees were going crazy on the flowering buckwheat in about 4 weeks!
This year, I decided to "expand" and already have 1/4 to 1/2 acre about one week away from bloom and another 1/2 acre I seeded yesterday.
My combined lack of experience in buckwheat farming and beekeeping, :s , leads me to a question: Is there a way to determine how many hives per acre...or maybe it would be acres per hive...for surplus honey production.
I figure there are too many variables - so as a matter of opinion, would my approx. one acre get me a few frames of buckwheat honey or do I need to hitch the mule back up?
( C.C. )
This was brought up a few months ago. If I remember right there was an article in "Bee Culture" that talked of it and which started the discussion. You might try a search:scratch:
I put out 100lbs of buckwheat seed this last month and w/ all the rain I'm getting, its growing like on streroids!!!! Cant wait to get the girls on it!
06-12-2009, 06:40 AM
Will either of you harvest the buckwheat in some way? Or is it just a perenial so you bees will have it next spring too?
06-12-2009, 10:16 AM
Thanks, Zane....I did find a couple of threads on buckwheat. I'll check again. It was a sight to behold last year on my little plot. Good luck to you and your girls. :)
Noelle, I had a smaller second crop from natural reseeding - plus a small (insignificant) volunteer crop this spring. The link below is the one that peaked my interest. There is the possibility I will try to harvest at least part for next year's seed. I will likely leave part for wildlife habitat and see how it does next spring.
While looking for the above article, I may have found my answer in another one:
"As a green manure crop, buckwheat can produce three crops within a growing season. Since it is not a legume crop, buckwheat does not fix nitrogen. However, the crop can increase soil organic matter levels and can help mobilize soil phosphorus.
The crop is an excellent temporary honey crop since buckwheat may bloom for 30 days or more. An acre of buckwheat blossoms can provide bees with enough nectar for 100 to 150 lbs of honey. :banana::banana::banana:
Buckwheat honey is dark and has a distinctive (recognizable) flavor.
Buckwheat can be seeded in poor, infertile areas, along field margins, and on set-aside land as a wildlife feed. For this purpose, the crop can be seeded in late July and produce a winter feed crop. Deer and small rodents, such as rabbits, are reported to feed on buckwheat plantings."
06-12-2009, 12:03 PM
I've got about 2 acres in buckwheat that just started blooming about a week ago, and the bees won't touch it. they are working clover instead. Placed the hives about 100' from it to.
Does anybody know if you cut it before it seeds will it rebloom.
06-12-2009, 01:04 PM
The crop is an excellent temporary honey crop since buckwheat may bloom for 30 days or more. [b]An acre of buckwheat blossoms can provide bees with enough nectar for 100 to 150 lbs of honey.
thanks for the article link, 100+ pounds, where is that from?
06-12-2009, 01:20 PM
Does anyone know if buckwheat grow in Seattle? or is it a southern crop.
I did lots of clover all around this year and I know that re blooms each year when wild. But, maybe I should add some buckwheat.?
06-12-2009, 01:39 PM
Here you go, Thelorax:
Scottsbees - I mowed one of my plots last year. I can't say for certain, but I think it did continue to bloom - just not as large a crown. I think one article mentioned it would bloom down the stalk until frost. Mowing might keep the blooms on top. If it is an option - mow a small area, let some mature for viable seeds and harrow/till them slightly, and let some just "go natural". That is what I am thinking about just to see which one works best for me.
06-12-2009, 01:51 PM
Does anyone know if buckwheat grow in Seattle? or is it a southern crop?
I would consider it more suited for cooler regions. Definitely not a "southern crop". Actually does better when p.m. temps begin to cool down. Since it is a short season crop, I wouldn't be afraid to try it.
06-12-2009, 02:42 PM
I plant buckwheat in early spring after last frost date (May 10th) here. After it blooms and goes to seed ( seed hardens) i run a disk over it. I have got 3 blooms from one planting doing this and some of it will come back the next spring but sparse like. The deer will eat it into the ground.
Scottsbees, have you checked it in the mourning? They work it here in the mourning till about 11am and after that you won't find a bee on it. Some people don't like the taste of bucwheat honey but i like it,my mother used to make buckwheat pancakes out of buckwheat flour and pour sorghum or honey on them. (Hmmm can you still buy buckwheat flour?):scratch: Jack
06-12-2009, 03:43 PM
[QUOTE=brooksbeefarm;434054] After it blooms and goes to seed ( seed hardens) i run a disk over it.
:sI am so lame to ask this - but what is a disk? or how do you run a disk over it?
(trying to be a little more rural!)
06-12-2009, 03:45 PM
No I have'nt checked in the morning, I will tommorrow. I think I will try the disc after the seed hardens and see if I can get another crop. Thanks.
06-12-2009, 03:52 PM
but what is the disk???:o
06-12-2009, 04:28 PM
Here ya go.....
BTW - I may call on you when I need help being a little less rural. ;)
06-12-2009, 06:32 PM
Thanks so much - now I know what you mean. It's not easy being such a city kid with such country longings.
You can call on me anytime you need some city kid help!
06-12-2009, 06:46 PM
Here ya go.....
How about some bigger pictures. I love tractors.
06-13-2009, 12:20 AM
(Hmmm can you still buy buckwheat flour?):scratch: Jack Yes, many organic food stores have it. Or, at least they have buckwheat pancake mix.
Here's a very informative research article concerning bees and buckwheat from the Ukraine, where they grow a lot of it.
06-13-2009, 04:27 AM
Great article, Galaxy.
That one goes in my "Bee Files". Thanks!
06-13-2009, 08:53 AM
Sorry i didn't get back sooner to answer some of your questions, and thanks to those that answered them for me. So many times we take for granted that city folk know what country folk are saying and vise versus. Heck, i've watched Jay Leno tell a joke about what happened in the big city and people are cracking up and i don't have a clue what their laughing about.:scratch:
We had a storm go through last week and the neighbor was pushing a down tree with his tractor, it was a bee tree and they put him in the hospital (234 stings and broke his ankle when he jumped off his tractor) and he was allergic to them. He ask me if i would remove them (the bees) that he didn't hold their attack against them they were just protecting their home.So that's What i've been doing. The doctor's said he was a very lucky man to be alive. I wonger how many of us would be that forgiving?
P,S Sorry for getting off topic, and thanks for the link Galaxy. Jack
07-08-2009, 08:54 PM
I mixed planted buckwheat into my sweetclover planting. We have had a lot of rain this year and early clover planting was out. Thought the buckwheat may shade the first year clover a bit and help it get established as well as provide some nectar for my first year bees. It's July and both germinated in less then a week. Someone told me that I should mix some dutch white clover into my sweetclover and that you could cut the sweetclover after it goes to bloom/seed and the white dutch will then bloom creating an extended clover bloom. Has anyone else heard of either of these type plantings? Also if sweet clover is planted in the fall this year will it bloom next spring?
07-08-2009, 11:01 PM
I had always thought of buckwheat as being a wimpy plant until I planted it last year in a quarter of our garden where we cycle plantings each year. I got a nice stand of buckwheat and when it stopped blooming I tilled it in as a green manure and planted crimson clover. In a few days a nice stand of green was out there. When I went and looked closer it a solid stand of buckwheat (this was last September). The crimson finally came up but didn't grow much before winter.
Fast forward to this spring when the snow went away there was only a little clover left so I decided to plant corn there and tilled again. I got another solid stand of buckwheat. It was too cold for corn for a while so just before planting I tilled again about a week before planting. When I went out to plant the corn I had a solid stand of buckwheat. I raked the young buckwheat plants under and planted the corn. After four hoeings and pulling buckwheat around the corn plants I think it is finally done. I left a border around the corn and have a solid 3-4 foot strip of buckwheat around the corn that the bees are on now.
I have buckwheat everywhere in the garden, but it is easy to pull. The thing is when I pull on up it breaks off maybe 4"-6" below the surface so it is coming up from that far down. I don't think I will ever have to buy buckwheat seed again. It is easy to harvest by hand for small plantings (30'x30').
I planted alot of buckwhea this year and its going like gangbusters(sorry Jack city term, I mean its growing great!:)) Unfortunately I plantedalot of it into my deer food plots w/ milo beans corn and other late bloomers. I'll dics some of the lone planting I did and hope for natural reseeding on the rest. It seems to grow easily. It is even in my drive where I spilled in placing it into my seeder!
I havent noticed the girls taking any buckwheat @ any time but there is so much clover on my place this year I think they might prefer it.:s
Jack I have bought Buckwheat flour @ Country Marts up here. Let me know if you cant find it and I'll bring you some next time I come down!
07-09-2009, 10:30 AM
Beedeetee, that is very strange around here if you plant buckwheat to early the frost will kill it. I've had it come up the following year but it was spotty. Your weather and soil must be different than our's. Glad your having good luck with it, or maybe not if you have to hoe much of it out, hang in there. Jack
Zane, i found buckwheat flour at the health food store, but thanks for the offer. We planted buckwheat in some food plots (last year) and the deer ate it into the ground and the next year we found sprigs of buckwheat scattered through the woods. I have been extracting some honey from my hives in northern Mo.(around Collins, Mo.) and the big sac river and it is almost black looking and as thick as molasses? don't have a clue what they made it from but it has a good flavor.( no buckwheat up there). The bees up there are still working sweet clover and sumac hope to get some honey off of it before the aster and goldenrod start. Around here i found bees on the buckwheat in the mourning up until 11:00am and after that you wouldn't find a bee on it. Hope everyone has a good honey flow and harvest. Jack
Jack, did you extract the "Twin Towers" yet? You had about 7 supers ea on them when I was by a few weeks ago.
07-09-2009, 09:22 PM
I havent noticed the girls taking any buckwheat @ any time but there is so much clover on my place this year I think they might prefer it.
I put out about 9 or 10 acres of buckwheat this year. It's in full bloom right now. 8 or 9 in the morning the field is covered with bees. By 11 or so if the sun is out, there are only a few bees in the buckwheat and they are starting to work the white clover in the yard. If it a real cloudy day I have seen some still working until 2 or 3 in the afternoon.
Supposedly buckwheat stops producing nectar by noon. Try checking your buckwheat in the early morning - you may be surprised by all the bees on it.
07-09-2009, 10:26 PM
Beedeetee, that is very strange around here if you plant buckwheat to early the frost will kill it. I've had it come up the following year but it was spotty. Your weather and soil must be different than our's.
Our temperatures only go down to +10-15F rarely. When they do we usually have a blanket of snow. The thing that surprised me and the reason that I think that I had so many "crops" of buckwheat was that I tilled it down about 8" and what came up this year was quite deep. When I originally planted it I only just barely covered the seeds, but they obviously will come up covered by 6" of soil. Although I am sure it takes it longer to get going.
07-11-2009, 09:25 AM
Jack, did you extract the "Twin Towers" yet? You had about 7 supers ea on them when I was by a few weeks ago.
Yes, i got 3 five gallon buckets of extracted honey and a shollow super of comb honey off them last week. I put 2 wet supers back on each of them and they are really working the dutch clover in the pastures.:thumbsup: Might get some clover honey off them befor the aster and goldenrod start blooming. Jack