what to plant on 1/6 acre?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Bruce Twp., Michigan, USA
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    Default what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    so I have rototilled a 1/6 acre plot out back that is the beginning of a pollinator project and i am unsure of what direction I want to go. I'd really like to have it be all native wildflowers however the seed mix I found for my region would cost me $410 (American, lol).

    However, the family farm and home by me has clover and buckwheat for a couple bucks a pound, I could have that plot overseeded with cover crop for well under $20....
    if I go this route has anyone ever planted buckwheat and clover together? not really looking forward to this because I'm pretty sure that red clover is biennial and won't flower until next may, in which case I would have needed to cut the buckwheat already, if I wanted to do buckwheat twice in one year. I have read that red clover can tolerate a couple mowings before flowering.

    any recommendations, im trying to stick with species that have low threat to spreading (unless they are native) as invasive species is pretty much what my job revolves around..

    let er rip....

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lexington, VA, USA
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    I don't believe red clover is a good honey bee crop. I assume that is what you are planting for. Crimson clover is good as is white dutch.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Verde Valley Arizona
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    1/6 acre is nothing to foraging bees. Plant white clover and garnish with Borage (borago officionalis).

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Livingston county,Michigan,USA
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    117

    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    I'd plant asparagus.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Bruce Twp., Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    I guess I should have stated that I'm well aware this will not increase honey production, I still want to do it. I should also note that this isn't entirely for honey bees either. I am in the process of building several houses for alternative/native pollinators.

    so I've done some more reading and even though i really want to turn this into mixed native wildflowers eventually, for now I'll go with buckwheat and clover. my new plan is to plant the buckwheat with some clover, we will see what i can get in the next few days, the clover isn't super important to me. then after a few weeks of the buckwheat flowering I'm going to mow it (or let my neighbor's horses graze it) then replant buckwheat for another bloom later in the year, we'll just have to see how the clover does with that. then maybe next year I can till everything under and do the wildflowers.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    Weed man. Oh...you're not in California

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Powhatan, Virginia, USA
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    373

    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    The buckwheat will reseed itself if you let it dry out, depends on your season but can make three crops a year. I would mix the clovers, nectar in red is to deep for honeybees but bumble bees like it.
    For honey bees I would mix crimson, short white dutch, tall white and tall yellow. The talls are biennial as you said and should not be mowed. The white and yellow bloom at different times overlapping to extend the season.

  9. #8
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    Jul 2013
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    Bruce Twp., Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    I'm not sure what the clover is at family farm and home but if it is red clover then I will mix it with white dutch and crimson (I already have a pound), however if it is either white dutch or crimson ill just leave it at that. here in michigan I'm pretty sure that i can only get two crops a year, but we will see.

    red clover can be cut before it blooms from what I've read, however I haven't heard that about other clovers

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    cokato mn
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    119

    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    Taste buckwheat honey before you plant it. It is not your mom's honey! Some like it, many will not.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    1,537

    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    Quote Originally Posted by kengineer View Post
    Taste buckwheat honey before you plant it. It is not your mom's honey! Some like it, many will not.
    ive had it and its fine, plus this small plot is not going to affect my honey that much

  13. #12
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    Apr 2015
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    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    IMHO, you're wasting your time and money. The seeds you can readily afford aren't particuarly great for pollinators. The "designer" or desired ones are very expensive. Did you spray the area prior to rototilling with a good herbicide? If not, any seeds you do "plant" will probably be choked out. How will you sow the seeds, do you have a grain drill to properly put them at the desired (very shallow) depth? If not, and your tiller is a self propelled reverse tine, you can broadcast the seeds, the adjust the drag stake to "transport" and run over the area with tines engaged, they'll just barely hit the ground and incorporate the seeds-good way to seed a lawn BTW. IF you don't have either of those, wait till fall, do the herbicide, 4-6 weeks later till and rake smooth, then broadcast the seeds. Allow winter, through freeze and thaw cycles bury the seeds to the proper depth-Mother Nature knows best.

    Over the years have planted small areas of 1/4-1/2 acre here on my farm with "pollinator friendly" stuff, bumblebees, etc. worked it, my bees did not. Observed they flew right over a 1/2 acre of crimson clover in bloom heading for the woods. Presumably, there was something more desirable or more plentiful there.

    I gave up on planting for pollinators. What I now do is plant a couple of packages of encap mix at the end of my garden. the seeds are encapsulated with mulch and fertilize, you till the area, spread the seed and water well. Actually, I wait till just before a rain and spread. My wife gets a great wildflower garden (I'm a hero :-) ) and my bees and other pollinators actually work it as things are in bloom all season. A package only plants 200 sq. ft. I usually buy it at Amazon or TSC for about $10 per bag. Attached a link to it at WalMart, they seem to be out of it, but will show what I'm talking about.

    Before you plant anything, do an assessment of what you have blooming and when in your area. If you can find something affordable which will bloom in the dearth, then you'll be helping your bees and other pollinators.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/200SQFT-H...e-Mix/39109166

    Not trying to be a wet blanket, but have gone down this road and learned a few things. Most important, the bees don't need our help other than with mites and shb, when it comes to foraging, they know what they want.

    Good luck,

  14. #13
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    my rototiller is a self propelled reverse tine! also i saw that honey bee mix at family farm and home as well, i was skeptical.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    Quote Originally Posted by billabell View Post
    Crimson clover is good
    It really isn't. I read that, time and time again, so I planted 3 acres of Crimson clover (No I didn't plant Red Clover) 2 falls ago. I had a beautiful, lush stand last spring and this spring. It was a "sea" of crimson blooms for several weeks. I have looked multiple times, at different times of day and there were very, very few honeybees foraging on it. Bumblebees were having a field day.

    To the OP, as already stated, 1/6 an acre isn't much for forage but it can't hurt. Down here, I'd plant it in Dutch White clover and be done with it. Up there you might be able to get several bloom periods from Buckwheat if you cut it under after the seeds dry down each time. That would build the soil, then you could plant in clover next year.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    ok so I'm planting two varieties of white clover, ladino and white dutch. then buckwheat. both of those white clovers can be mowed, bot are good for N fixation.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    The buckwheat is going to compete with the clover and shade it pretty badly. If you want a nurse crop for the clover plant some Ryegrass, then when the clover is established spray it with Clethodim to kill the Ryegrass.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  18. #17
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    Santa Cruz, CA
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    In seriousness - as many of pointed out 1/6 an acre is nothing to bees. However, that doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful landscape of flowers for them, and for you, to enjoy.

    My local feed store sells a "wildflower mix" of native flowering plants. It'd always suggest finding something native and low growing that you can mow down after it's flowered and reseeded itself for the next year.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    Its all regional.

    In our area, we expect a dearth in mid-summer. I would plant to provide forage for our dearth. True enough, a small patch will not make much honey, but it will help out when other forage is short.

    Clovers are a favorite. Dutch white is a good bet for lawns. If mowed, it will stimulate new blooms. We planted crimson last fall and the bees are choosing it over the white. For unmowed areas, sweet white and sweet yellow are bee favorites, although some areas prohibit planting them. We had no luck with clovers until we remediated some soil problems. Our soil was severely deficient in two minerals and was too acid. With that fixed, the growth this year is lush, and the bees approve.

    Another non-native that blooms in our dearth, prohibited in a few states, is Viper's Bugloss.

    Local milkweeds are generally pollinator-friendly. We encourage those, as well as a mix of other regional wildflowers. Last summer our main flow came from these, and it occurred when we would normally have a dearth.

    Many fall asters are pretty and will be covered with bees. My avatar is one of our bees on a New England aster.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Bruce Twp., Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnmyke View Post
    In seriousness - as many of pointed out 1/6 an acre is nothing to bees. However, that doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful landscape of flowers for them, and for you, to enjoy.

    My local feed store sells a "wildflower mix" of native flowering plants. It'd always suggest finding something native and low growing that you can mow down after it's flowered and reseeded itself for the next year.
    I really want to do all natives, however the cheapest seed mix for this size plot that is appropriate for my region was $275... considering I can plant 2 types of clover and buckwheat here for about $15....

    not to mention that my lawn is covered in either ladino or dutch clover those would obviously move into my native wildflower patch anyways.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
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    19

    Default Re: what to plant on 1/6 acre?

    I am a big proponent of native plants. I would buy once and cry once with the native seed. It should be perennials or annuals that will reseed themselves in your area. It should also do well, and if it is a good assortment, also give you a nice range of bloom dates and benefit lots of native bugs and animals other than your bees.

    The cost difference definitely sounds big, but it might be worth it to get what you actually want...

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