At my home pasture I put in a bunch of vetch this year under some of the trees and a little in the pasture. The bees used it for a few hours in the morning and sometimes in the evening. I thought this to be a great success so I planted a bunch of it at another pasture just five miles away but on different soil where I keep cows and a few hives. There is nothing for the bees there past about mid July. I now have acres of vetch that the bees won't touch and the only thing around that they can use is the bur clover that I've been trying to get rid of for years.:mad:
Irrigation doesn't seem to help and none of my other spots have anything to offer. I'm stuck feeding bees.
You might want to take a look at this plant.
A little water helps bring it along and it blooms for a long time. Cattle like it too.
I get vetch in the ditches along the road here in the spring. I have never seen a bee on it. I hear that vetch is good bee forage from some peoples, but from what I have seen here, I find it hard to believe. It could be that when the vetch in the ditches here are in bloom, that other things blooming in the area is more enticing for the bees.
Here is a thread on vetch. Read the entire thread as it adds to the information and conversation as it moved along. It may answer some of your questions and help out.
most year we get a surplus of vetch honey. On a built up hive we might get two mediums of it. Not every hive mind you, but some hives in some locations. Not much luck planting it. but if its already growing there...
My exp is that its a light honey with a hint of vanilla. Its pretty tasty stuff.
Ours is common vetch or hairly vetch. If youre planting a stand of it, i hear early fall is the time to plant- provided theres water to help them germinate. Seems like whenever I go to trouble and expense of planting seed, the owner cuts and bales it up right before it has the chance to flower. Now i look for locations that already support the forage...
Thanks all, It's hairy vetch that I have at that yard. There is alot of other bee forage planted in the pasture, including the trefoil, but it mostly gets grazed to heavily to bloom enough to help out. The vetch is growing in a stand with some other grasses that I'm holding over for winter to cut down my hay bill.
This yard is where I hold splits and weaker hives so that I can cut down on robbing if I need to feed them. I was hoping that the vetch would cut down both of my feed bills. It just seems odd that a distance of five miles makes such a big differance...