I plan on starting two hives, from two 5-frame nucs, in a rural area of NC. I have approx an acre of fallow land. Rather than gamble on quality/quantity etc of letting the wildflowers grow out, I have decided to try to plant a bit of buckwheat, approx 1 acre.
I got really interested in growing it as a honey crop after reading about buckwheat honey, and had an opportunity to try some last night at the beekeepers meeting, and just fell in love with it. I found locally sourced seed as well, so I am super anxious to try it out.
I plan on planting quite a bit of Golden rod as well, for a fall crop to help my girls with winter stores.
So my questions:
First off, is this enough land for primarily buckwheat honey? I understand it would probably take much more land to isolate the hives enough to make it "pure", but I figured a relatively small plot would add quite a bit of unique character, hopefully helping me sell my unique local honey.
What kind of yield can I expect with two 8-frame hives from nucs? Does your answer give me surplus, or total?
One of the "oldtimers" (not to sound derogatory) told me that it would take only three weeks to bloom. He also said that I can chop 'em down and get another bloom from them when they finished. Does anyone with experience growing buckwheat know if this is possible?
Can I use the mowed buckwheat as hay for my chickens?
As far as the goldenrod, I figured if I left a bit of the "buckwheat" honey behind, and just had some supplemental goldenrod growing near by, it would help build stores for the winter, I plan on leaving 2 medium supers, as I am told this is a good amount for my area, and goldenrod blooms in the fall. We have rather mild winters here.
Also, if anyone sees any problems, or tweaks to my plan, I'm all ears!