Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    21

    Question 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant? Z 3

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,979

    Default Re: 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant?

    Can you post a link to the county noxious weeds list? And you might this link useful:
    http://www.capabees.com/main/files/p...tar_plants.pdf
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Olmsted County, MN USA
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant?

    Go with a mix of native prairie forbs (flowering plants) and grasses. Your part of Canada once held millions of acres of prairie that had forbs flowering throughout the entire growing season, no doubt refined by natural selection. Others (including myself) have done that here in MN and we have nectar sources from April into October (my New Engand Asters are still being worked by honey bees as I write this).

    While this approach will not produce a big a honey yield as a non-native high-nectar monoculture, you will create a diverse environment that will support far more pollinators and other critters.

    The native grasses suggested here won't help your honey bees, but they will add to the diversity. My mix was 60:40 forbs:grasses and it is exploding with flowers throughout the season.

    it's more work and more expensive for sure. But more than worthwhile, IMO. If money is a constraint, I'd do things one smaller patch at a time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Belgrade, MT
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant?

    Sainfoin would be my plant of choice.
    Peter W., Belgrade, MT, Elv. 4420 Zone 4a
    Sheepshank Honey, 3 yrs & 10 hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Saguache,Colorado,usa
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant?

    If you have irrigation that Clover is really a great honey producer. If it is dry land then yellow sweet clover is really good. If it were me and there was Canola next door then I would concentrate on early blooming plants and late blooming plants. Canola makes good honey but will crystallize quickly and is not good for the bees when it does. So Asters and sunflowers are great fall flowering plants. Pull supers when the canola stops and allow the bee to build winter store on the asters and sunflowers. Dandelions, chokecherries and apple trees are great early blooming plants. So I would plant a lot of these sort of things as well as a few summer flowering plants to provide a more diverse pollen source. If you are wanting to crowd thistle out well good luck. about your best bet for controlling that is to plant alfalfa and cut it two or three times a year. That way you are stressing the thistle continuously and keeping it from making seed. I have seen guys spray so much round up on there place that they could not grow a regular crop and still have thistle.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Babylon ny
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant?

    Borage may be great addition for your 5 acre meadow. It is self seeding annual so you'll need to plant ft just once. It is also a very robust plant. It should provide almost season long strong source and bees are nuts about it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant?

    Thank you for the link. Unfortunately the county only has printed copy of noxious weed list and has not included it on the site yet. Canada thistle is the worst one and we already have that. Fortunately only a couple of small patches and most of our land is not infested. We will keep the areas mowed and spot treat individual thistle colonies only.
    Will look for borage and sainfoin.
    If anyone has a small amount of sainfoin seeds they could forward for small trials I would be happy to make arrangements including reimbursement via PM
    Last edited by Monica; 10-14-2012 at 04:25 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant?

    Sorry if this doubles up, lost the first post!
    I have often pondered the pleasant problem of what I would plant a bee acreage with! The common wisdom holds that the wider their forage choices, the healthier are the bees. Check out Spikenard Bee Sanctuary and see what they have been planting.
    http://www.spikenardfarm.org/pdf/BeeForagePlants.pdf

    Do not forget dear old DANDELIONS!! Great early forage and repeat blooms all season. And I hear that Sweet Yellow Clover (Melilotus) is a bee magnet. I think Echium will be on your noxious/pest list, but Phacelia should be ok and is supposed to be a bee fave as well...as is chicory.

    As for the thistle, I would ummmm.... not plant it, but put some out on the burn pile to demonstrate responsibility and stewardship, but allow it to flourish quietly on field margins etc.

    Locally, good plants this year were:

    Early: Maples, Red Alder, Dandelions, Cornflower, Scilla siberica (bulb, naturalizes)
    Mid: Fennels, Thymes, Melissa (Bee Balm, spreads rapidly), Lovage, Lavendar, Chicory, Hyssop, comfreys, Borage (although in our yard it only drew bumblebees, I guess our honeybees had something better to go to)
    Late: Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium), Caryopteris (gorgeous 3' shrub that blooms from Sept to frost and bees love it!), Sunflowers of all kinds, asters, Goldenrod

    West Coast Seeds sells a pollinator blend.

    USA companies seem to sell more interesting and targeted blends:
    http://www.stockseed.com/mixes_default.asp

    Let us know how this goes for you! I would love to hear what and how you plant and how the bees do. They will forage on what they deem best, and it will be interesting to track their preferences.

    Regards,
    Janet
    Last edited by WesternWilson; 10-15-2012 at 10:05 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryville, tn, usa
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant?

    Think it depends on what else you want to get out of the land... just grazing vetch, lespodeza, hubbard clover, iron weed, maybe some wild mints in the shady areas and some cone flowers and tickseed.

    I'd plant a bunch or fruit trees apple, persimmon, pear, plum, paw paw(no benefit to bees), (whatever will take your winters) and bushes black berry, raspberry, elder berry. I like picking fruit and great for bring in deer which I like to eat.

    I'd also add that goldenrod is a great fall forage for me but in other parts of the country it blooms earlier and a different variety which is ignored from what i hear so check with the local guys.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: 110 acres to plant for your bees, what would you plant? What would you NOT plant?

    Sounds like you have already created good forage and the link from Rader Sidetrack gives you additional Alberta plants. The traditional Alberta forage plants are the clovers (Alsike, sweet, white and red), rape seed, alfalfa, fireweed, sunflower and buckwheat. Check out this link (https://www.box.com/s/l60clqy2akzfc6pobmwe) for honey yield per acre and read Dr. Tibor Szabo's book (https://www.box.com/s/8zwq6cktdwgnmcssbise) Beekeeping in Western Canada written 30 years ago from his base in Beaverlodge, Alberta. Good luck.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads