Broadcasting Success
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Broadcasting Success

    There is a field at the end of my road that has been crop idle for many years, except for a good showing of weeds. I'm thinking of getting a 1/4# of Anise Hyssop and a pound of Borage seed to walk through broadcasting the seed. My question is for those folks who have gone the non-till route and just broadcasted the seed by hand. What do you think was your success percentage of germination?

    Hopefully I can get this done just before a nice thunderstorm that will help in washing the seed into the ground.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Dade county, Mo.
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    We've frost seeded clover in the fall and in winter with snow and had some success. Not nearly as good as a prepared seed bed so have found it necessary to put it down heavy and right before a rain if possible.
    Of course this is clover and not what you have. Competing plants/root structures will affect performance.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    I would not try to cover large areas, but instead try to concentrate the seeds in smaller patches. Bees don't forage too well on a widely scattered single plants of one type but will visit when there is a stand blooming all at the same time. Bees are masters at assessing foraging efficiency, which is a function of each plant's nectar value times the number of plants or blooms available. So the more flowers of one kind that are close together, the better the over-all foraging resource it will be. Which increases the chance that they will actually find and use the plants that you seeded for them.

    So regardless of your germination percentage (which will be lower using frost seeding on untilled ground) if you could try to have the ones that do germinate co-located near the others of the same kind, you'll produce more usable bee forage. (And you will be better able to tell if you have had any germination success to begin with. It's impossible to check that if the seeds are very widely broadcast.) It's also smart to mark the patches with flags so you can find them again when the field covered with plants.

    It's unlikely that closely sowing in patches will result in a situation where the plants are too crowded unless you just dump the packets out on the ground.

    I sowed a couple of hundred pounds of seed last year after my farm burned over (broadcast over the bare ground, but untilled, ground while we were still having freezing nights.) We luckily had a cool damp spring. I used some annuals as markers for the seeding operation's success. But most of the seeds were perennials so I am hoping that this year the bees will get more of a boost from it.

    The other important thing about getting forage going is that the plants have to ones that can complete in a mixed community, otherwise they won't last. Neither of the two you noted will do that particularly well, I think, (though the anise hyssop will do better on that score than the borage). They will both fare better in patches where they can collectively crowd out some of the competition. I would have patches of borage, and patches of hyssop, not mixed together however.

    And borage seed being larger and roundish, might benefit from some scratching in (spring tooth metal rake lightly applied) to get it covered. Some plants require darkness to germinate, others not so much.

    Whatever you do, keep notes so you can do it again - or something different next year. And I would be interested in a report of what happens as I am always keen to learn about plant experiments.

    Nancy

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    Thank you Nancy for your in depth insight to my seeding quest. This is a small 4 A. field about 1/2 mile from me that I go past no fewer than 4 times per day. It is poor sandy loam soil and as far as I know has never had anything planted in it in 40 years that I've lived here. Is there another seed that comes to mind other than the two I mentioned? I even thought of Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), but I can't find a seed source. It seems the worse the weed (invasive), the easier it is to grow! Now if it were tomatoes, I'd have a tough time for sure. I have another plot of Russian Olive bushes which comprises about 5 A. no more than a mile from me. It is an abandon gravel pit. But I'm not sure whether Russian Olive is a major nectar source or not. They (RO) smell great on a warm summer night with a slight breeze. This all leads me to my next endeavor of finding a used Fairbanks platform scale to place a hive on so that I can keep track of what is blooming and any weight gains, and recording rainfall amounts. I have had good results with the white Dutch clover broadcasted in the yard, but that's as far as my "Johnny Appleseed" efforts have taken me!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    Russian or Autumn olive? See .pdf here to understand the differences: http://www.nifatrees.org/Resources/D...sian-olive.pdf

    Both are bad boys (very invasive), but I think there's a difference between them vis a vis benefits to honey bees. I have some reference books which will tell me which the bees use, but I am not in the same place as my bookshelves at the moment. I can check later if you'd like. I have a fair amount of Autumn olive on a hillside I haven't had time to clear out, yet. I think my bees get something off it.

    I am not keen on knotweeds, it's a personal animus, not anything more. But I particularly dislike C. stoebe and will yank it out every chance I get. My bees (luckily) don't appear to like it very much. I almost never see them on it.

    I think the biggest (bee forage) bang for the effort - though admittedly it's a longer-horizon project - is getting shrubs and trees going. (Or preventing their destruction if you can.)

    The reason white dutch clover does so well in your yard is that it is very well-suited to lawns, particularly because lawns are plant communities which are frequently mowed so some of its natural competitors are at a disadvantage. Woe unto my poor husband who mows over blooming wh dutch white clover during a forage dearth. He uses a large commercial mower that doesn't adjust the blade height w/o tools and a jackstand, so we often bicker over blooming clover and the work entailed in raising the blades.

    I want to find one of those grain scales, too. So far, no luck. Are you watching your nearest Craig's List?

    Nancy

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    How about yellow sweet clover? You won't get anyblooms this year, but next year it should bloom profusely. It does well in poor soil and can be frost seeded with some success.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    Nancy, per your reference site, I definitely have to say the shrubs I'm seeing are Autumn Olive. So I'm hoping they're beneficial to the bees. Yes, I have been watching Craig's list for a scale, but it's going to take patience for one to show up for a good price!

    Nhaupt, as for yellow sweet clover, I have spread that along the ditch of our road in years past without much success.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    739

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    To my knowledge the autumn olives will be worked by the bees. Borage and anise are tender plants, good luck with that. Shrubs and trees are the way to go if your time horizon is long enough. I have had patches of white dutch clover get near 2 foot tall and compete orchard grass no problem. Surely you could carry a hoe and scratch a few areas up ????
    Dad always said " Smart like tractor, strong like bull "

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    Thanks spunky! I'm retired and retired people don't have a long horizon of time in order to watch a tree grow! That white dutch clover is sounding better all the time to me.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    I did check with my local grain elevator and white dutch clover seed is $4.50/lb. which is another incentive to go with the DC.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    771

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    You can get Dutch clover online for 25 lbs. At 10 lb acre for like 100.oo delivered to doorstep. 2.50 +/- a lb. I order allot of it out of Florida, 100 lbs at a time for like 25.00 delivery fee through ups, or fed ex
    Just depends on acreage and how much per acre you want to plant. I have cattle, and plant larger acreage, so it might be cheaper for you locally, not buying but a few lbs at a time.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,791

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    I sowed this yellow mustard in a plowed fire break behind my house. I doubt much would have come up if it wasn't plowed open. For $10 from Johnny's Select Seed, it has been a great value compared to spending that much on some annuals in cell paks.


  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    Rich, can you provide the particulars on your seed source?

    Odfrank, how do the bees like the yellow mustard? Is that considered a good bee plant?

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,164

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    Odfrank,you have a beautiful piece of property. Is that mist rising up from a river in the background?
    For what its worth, I have never had much luck frost seeding wildflowers. Have had better luck with lawn grass. A friend does have success seeding milkweed without tilling. I am blessed with an abundance of milkweed so have not tried this myself but I gather up pods for him and he claims it works well.
    For those who may not be familiar with milkweed, bees absolutely love it. I like it for lots of reasons and let them spread, but if they encroach in an area you don't want them, they pull out very easily. J

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    Nancy, can you consult your flower book regarding Brassica rapa (Field Mustard) and how it rates as a nectar source? Thank you.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    771

    Default Re: Broadcasting Success

    Rick, I order from hancock seed , out of dade city, FL.
    Hancockseed.com I think is correct. Do a search, for them if the link doesn't get you there. Many seed distributors, and many types of seed in 50 lb. Qty. Good luck also look at their specials section. Also, most clovers are planted in fall, winter, and early spring. Some do grow in summer though. They have good planting info on everything they sell. Also, you can call them. Good people to work with

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,791

    Default

    Yes it is a good bee plant. I think both pollen and nectar.

    Quote Originally Posted by rick54 View Post
    Rich, can you provide the particulars on your seed source? Odfrank, how do the bees like the yellow mustard? Is that considered a good bee plant?
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,791

    Default

    I live on the edge of 23000 acres of the San Francisco Watershed. That is morning fog hanging over the Crystal Springs Lake. Terrible weather for bees influenced by the Pacific ocean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    Odfrank,you have a beautiful piece of property. Is that mist rising up from a river in the background?
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

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
  •