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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    sewell, nj
    Posts
    529

    Default plantings offset some of the feeding costs.

    Have you planted a planting to offset feeding cost or to build up your Honey production? If so what was your choice of plants or planting? I have at my location a few acres to do this..

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Gillsville, GA USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: plantings offset some of the feeding costs.

    What type of area are you looking at planting? Is this area a grassy field or an area that is low lands (I.e. Swampy or wet lands). Refer to the link below for a brief description for various plants that may work in your area.

    http://www.themelissagarden.com/TMG_Vetaley031608.htm.

    http://m.organicgardening.com/organi...27f5d9d0162475

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cache Valley, Utah
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: plantings offset some of the feeding costs.

    I think honey bee "pastures" are a great idea. I'm in the process of establishing one myself with 24 acres of 'Delaney' sainfoin. But I wouldn't recommend sainfoin for NJ. Tends to struggle back east.

    You might be interested in this blog I wrote about honey bee pastures. It talks about some of the best plants to grow, as well as some of the wildflowers recommended by USDA-ARS Pollinating Insects-Biology, Management, and Systematics Research Unit.

    http://www.naturesfinestseed.com/blo...y-bee-pastures

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Beaufort, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: plantings offset some of the feeding costs.

    I did this a while back and chose to plant dandelion and mustard for the spring to allow buildup and to help offset some feeding costs for the spring. For the late summer and fall, I planted a ton of goldenrod and clover so my bees could buildup before the frost and colder weather. If the weather cooperates, I usually get close to a super of honey per hive for the winter and don't have to feed again until about 2 weeks or so before the dandelions and wild mustard starts blooming especially in these farm fields in the early spring before they plow them up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: plantings offset some of the feeding costs.

    >Have you planted a planting to offset feeding cost or to build up your Honey production?

    I don't feed unless they are starving, so I can't see that it will help much there. Since they forage the 8,000 acres around them, it's doubtful what I plant will make a honey crop. But I think it's worth planting to fill gaps in the flow and keep them going.

    >If so what was your choice of plants or planting? I have at my location a few acres to do this..

    Hard to beat dandelions... I gather the dried heads when I see them and put them in a grocery sack. Then I scatter them in my grass... and mustard is nice too.

    I planted a mixture of things, but it seems like some things will take over. I don't know what I'll get this year, but last year I got a lot of chicory. The nice thing is it blooms from late June until a hard freeze (it survives the light frosts) and blooms in a drought or rain. So it gives them something for drought and for late. I shoot for early, late and drought basically, but something in between is ok too.

    I planted about an even mix of:
    white dutch clover
    white sweet clover
    yellow sweet clover
    birdsfoot trefoil
    chicory

    with a little:
    ladino clover
    alfalfa
    joe pie weed
    ironweed
    goldenrod
    echinacea
    wildflower mix

    and there were some pasture grasses in there as well...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Beaufort, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: plantings offset some of the feeding costs.

    I will also agree that chicory is a great plant, and being in the south when a hard freeze may not happen until close to November, they are able to bloom and with summer droughts at times, these plants still bloom.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cache Valley, Utah
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: plantings offset some of the feeding costs.

    I really like the idea of planting for honey bees, even though they will forage the 8,000 acres around them as Mr. Bush mentioned. Every little patch helps. Just think, what if everyone planted as much bee forage as they could within those 8,000 acres?

    I'm in the process of establishing my own 23 acre honey bee "pasture". I'm planting the latest variety of sainfoin which, if the reports are correct, attract 10 times more honey bees than white clover, produce copious amounts of nectar and pollen, and blooms from May to late July. Unfortunately its use is limited to the Intermountain West regions of the US. Sainfoin tends to struggle everywhere else.

    Mr. Bush correct me if I'm wrong (you already enlightened me during my first post in the Welcome Forum), but from what I understand about the foraging habits of honey bees, they don't like to travel further than they have to. Meaning they will find the closest sources of good nectar and pollen first, work them as long as the plants are producing, then move further out. So in theory, if sainfoin really is one of the most desirable plants for honey bees, they should work my 23 acres almost exclusively while it's in bloom.

    There's also a slow moving canal about 50 feet from the area I will be using as a bee yard. My idea is to give my bees the most ideal conditions as possible, and maybe they'll have an advantage over other bees that have to spend all day searching those 8,000 acres for forage and water.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: plantings offset some of the feeding costs.

    >I really like the idea of planting for honey bees, even though they will forage the 8,000 acres around them as Mr. Bush mentioned. Every little patch helps. Just think, what if everyone planted as much bee forage as they could within those 8,000 acres?

    Every little bit helps, but if you plant what blooms during an already existing flow it pretty much gets ignored. On the other hand if you plant what blooms in what is a gap in the flow right now, it can help a lot.

    >I'm in the process of establishing my own 23 acre honey bee "pasture". I'm planting the latest variety of sainfoin which, if the reports are correct, attract 10 times more honey bees than white clover, produce copious amounts of nectar and pollen, and blooms from May to late July. Unfortunately its use is limited to the Intermountain West regions of the US. Sainfoin tends to struggle everywhere else.

    It sounds nice. But that's the same period that sweet clover already blooms, so it kind of depends on how much sweet clover is already on the 8,000 acres around them, how much difference it will make.

    >Mr. Bush correct me if I'm wrong (you already enlightened me during my first post in the Welcome Forum), but from what I understand about the foraging habits of honey bees, they don't like to travel further than they have to.

    I wouldn't say that exactly. There are several factors that drive them to work a particular nectar source. One is the concentration of sugar in it. Another is that honey bees are very loyal to a source. In other words, once they start working it, they tend to work it until it runs out. They never seem to work flowers right beside the hives.

    >Meaning they will find the closest sources of good nectar and pollen first, work them as long as the plants are producing, then move further out.

    Sort of. Within the first 1 1/2 miles they seem to treat it all about the same. After that the "cost" of the trip starts to cut into the "profit" from the trip...

    >So in theory, if sainfoin really is one of the most desirable plants for honey bees, they should work my 23 acres almost exclusively while it's in bloom.

    I wouldn't count on it, but they might.

    >There's also a slow moving canal about 50 feet from the area I will be using as a bee yard. My idea is to give my bees the most ideal conditions as possible, and maybe they'll have an advantage over other bees that have to spend all day searching those 8,000 acres for forage and water.

    Close water is always a good thing. Anything over 1/4 mile to water will cut into their productivity.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cache Valley, Utah
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: plantings offset some of the feeding costs.

    Interesting. Thanks for the insight.

    So say I wanted to know if my bees were working the sainfoin exclusively. Besides the taste-test method you mentioned in my other post, could I examine the honey under a microscope to see what type of forge they're working at a particular time? If the honey sample contained a majority of sainfoin pollen, then I could safely (and legally) claim that my honey is "sainfoin honey"? This could be useful for labeling purposes and to prove a floral source.

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