I am going to plant about 3 acres of buckwheat next week. Has any one else planted buckwheat for the bees? And if so about how many hives will that support to maximize production. We want to add another line of honey to our line already.
I plant buckwheat here in late June so that it blooms after I remove my spring honey as I do not like to have the buckwheat mixed in. I let the bees keep all the buckwheat honey so I don't have to feed them for the winter. If you want a surplus to harvest, plan on about 2 hives per acre.
Buckwheat does best when planted so that it blooms after the nights begin to cool a little. But it will grow from last frost in spring to first frost in fall. Blooms just 3 to 4 weeks after planting. Good luck.
BeeAware... How do you plant yours? Last year I planted using a broadcast spreader..... worked okay, but not great. I picked up a grain drill this spring, but it doesn't say what settings to use for Buckwheat. If you use a drill, seed setting is close to buckwheat? Maybe beets?
I've never used a drill to plant Buckwheat, so I'm not sure about the setting. I broadcast mine in two or three successive planting about 2 weeks apart. Then I disc in the first planted when it matures and allow it to re-seed. This way I can keep some in bloom until first frost without buying additional seed.
What I've done is breadcast the seed, then go over it lightly with a disk & drag. This is on untilled ground with light fescue/clover cover. 1/4 of an inch deep is too deep. After the seed matures I disc & drag again like Beeaware does. And I do 3 plots sowed 2 weeks apart as well. It needs rain to do well. If Buckwheat was a lugume that fixed nitrogen, it would be the perfect plant. I don't care for the strong taste of Buckwheat honey, so I plant to bloom after I take off the fall crop if I get any. I seldom have to feed for winter stores.
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