Re: I never see my bees pollinating my garden plants.
I bought my bees just for pollination, and I have only seen two in my garden, both dead. One was in the mouth of some sort of scavenger hornet, and the other was just randomly dead, probably died in flight. It was pure chance that I found her lying on the ground. But it's ironic. The whole reason I started reading about bees in the first place was to pollinate my melons. I have yet to see them on the melons, and have watched now as they bloom and aren't pollinated. The picky little ladies have their preferences, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Recall however that they tend to all go to the same thing when it's preferential. My neighbor has a tallow tree out back, so they just shoot right past my meager little melon plants. They are efficient creatures after all. Why bother going to a dozen different melon flowers if they can go to one big tallow bloom and get a full load.
Heh, maybe you can spray some lemongrass oil around your garden for bait. My citrus trees bloomed back in March, before I had my bees, but the trees were still covered in feral bees (or a neighbor's bees, I don't know). The trees smelled so wonderful, I could smell them from 40' away, and they are small plants in pots. Bees love citrus trees though.
Don't sweat it, honeybees don't really care for tomatoes, nor are they the best at pollinating them. It's a different sort of bloom. As for the potatoes, they don't need to bloom in order to fruit, it's just considered a good sign. Then again, mine bloomed beautifully, and then my potato harvest sucked...but that's another story.
One package to 4 hives in 3 months. After 12 months I'm over a dozen hives and growing. Head over heels for bees!!!