This was our first year as new beekeepers.
We would like to plan for having something constantly in bloom throughout the seasons.
We are surrounded by canola and grain farmers. We have a small lake with some marshy area on one end with early willows. About 30 acres of lightly forested native trees and shrubs (dappled to light shade). Our land has been "organic" pasture since 1906. It has never been cultivated or sprayed. We also currently have a lot of thistle (blow in from the neighbors) which I have to get rid of, but since the bees love it, I need to replace it with something that the farmers can't contest and the county doesn't have on the noxious weeds list.
We will be enriching our pasture and hay field with clovers (3 kinds already present) and alfalfa (3 kinds already present). We have/will place our hives on the edges of a 5 acre protected meadow (in the trees), to which I have introduced dandelions, wild asters and other types of native flowers that currently grow on our land in other places. Current willow types will be propagated and spread in low areas. We don't seem to be affected by local 'drought' years like others around us.
ZONE 3. Preferred plants would be perennial and self seeding annual types. Also shrubs and trees to add to our shelterbelt. We are not interested in any invasive plants.
Also interested in how many colonies you think we should limit ourselves to as we currently are not planning any outyards. And yes I understand that the bees will fly and collect outside our acres