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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Suppose you're in this situation:

You had a bad lawn. Perhaps the developers removed your good soil. You fixed your lawn, and also added some nematodes and milky spore. Now its all healthy grass.. You won't have to kill weeds ever again. The only upkeep will be to mow high and add lime, fertilizer, occasional micro-nutrients, and possibly fine charcoal.

You're going to add flowers, such as clover.

Goals
1. Maintain lawn functions, such as abrasion and erosion control.
2. provide a balanced diet
3. provide nectar flows that are fairly even throughout the season (flowers that bloom at different times)

Questions
1. What time of year to plant?
2. Which flowers?
3. quantity and ratio? This could be a ratio of different seeds by mass.

Tell us the brand and quality of any seed you bought.

Eastern Ma pollen/nectar: http://www.essexcountybeekeepers.org/memberResources/nectar.shtml
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Background on the plants in my area:
1. Our soil is acidic. Granite is common.
2. common trees near my house
- red maple (most common)
- other maples
- oak
- a few pine
- a few poplar
- hemlock
- We have 3 birch, 2 apple, and 1 plum
3. shrubs
- Rhododendron (most common)
- azalea and other shrubs that look like rhododendrons
- evergreens
- lilac
4. some foods we grow (in order of what seams easiest)
- 1 rhubarb plant: grows the fastest, easy to divide
- red raspberries (bulk of the garden): we have 2 types with different bloom times
- strawberries: huge portion of garden
- black raspberries: not a lot right now
- Mustard grows like a weed, but we don't eat a lot of it.
- potatoes
- broccoli, tomatoes, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, lettuces, kale
- leeks, garlic, water melon, chives
I eat flax, but never grew it.
 

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Much depends upon what forage is already available to your bees - As you may think you know best and may plant all sorts of things that honey bees are known to love only to have them go elsewhere and feed on other things. My suggestion is to plant for pollinators in general.

Things I would plant: Yellow sweet clover, common milkweed, joe pye weed, shad, american linden, flowering crab apple - herbs such as Thyme and Cat Mint - and very low plants like heather.

I get my seed mostly from Fedco and Johnny's. Check with your cooperative extension about bee friendly plants that do well in your area. I grew up in Middlesex County but that was a long time ago now. Our Maine Cooperative Extension just included some suggestions for bee friendly plants in their most recent newsletter. PM me your e-mail and I'll forward the article on to you.

In general expect to plant mostly perennials - and don't be afraid to take advantage of (not plant) any nearby invasives like Purple Loosestrife.

Best of luck!
 

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I am near you in rowley , I have planted lots of lavender Russian sage, and catmint. Lawn has lots of birds foot trefoil and aslike clover. All of the pollinators seem to love them including the bees
 

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>1. What time of year to plant?

Most anytime will do for most any kind of clover.

> 2. Which flowers?

White Dutch clover and birdsfoot trefoil do well even when mowed and are perennials so even if they don't go to seed they will come back. The white and yellow sweet clover will flower somewhat even when mowed, but won't come back unless you let it go to seed. They are biennial so you need to plant some for two years to get some bloom every year. The yellow will bloom first and the white second. Planting both will give you a month more bloom. Hubam is an annual sweet clover and will bloom every year, but is also an annual so it has to go to seed to come back.

>3. quantity and ratio? This could be a ratio of different seeds by mass.

Some of this depends on what you want for density of clover compared to density of grass although eventually it will find it's own balance. You could spread it pretty thin if you want more grass than clover. Heavier if you want more clover than grass...
 

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If you want to mow it and make it look like a lawn, your options get severely reduced. The only thing that I know of that tolerates a 3.25" mowing regularly is clover, and even still gets scraggly in the summer. As a side note, i've been researching golden winged warbler habitats, and they share alot of similarities to pollinator habitats. Might want to look there for more information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I will start with short plants. I might grow it out on the sides later on. Mowing controls a strong invasive weed (goutweed I believe). We have horrible soil. The developers probably sold the good stuff. We compost everything we can. I would also like to make biochar next year.

Aside from soil helpers, such as nitrogen fixing clover, I should probably focus on early (when there's snow on the ground) and late blooming flowers. Many plants tolerate high mowing.

so far

snowdrops for sure
yellow crocus: I don't know for sure if bees use it.

I'll look up a clover/legume blend.
white dutch clover
probably birdsfoot trefoil
 

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I think that you may have the most success with 'Dutch' clover for a lawn amendment. If dandelions don't bother your sensibilities, they can be encouraged by not mowing during the few weeks they bloom and blow.

I think that you could encourage bee brood raising early in the spring with crocus. The earliest blooming crocus are often termed 'snow crocus'. I think that the bright yellow ones are very encouraging to all of us who see them breaking through the last snows. Another very early crocus that naturalizes (grows, self-seeds, and spreads in lawns is named Crocus tommasinus ("tommies"). You can probably find bulk purchases (hundreds of bulbs) by looking on Amazon or ebay for quantities. Finally, Scilla siberica (bright blue, early flowers) is another flower that bees visit to get early (blue) pollen. Also available by the hundreds if you look on line. If you have swampy areas nearby, skunk cabbage is one of the earliest-blooming plants out there.
 

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Borage: the white and blue flower type. Good for the border. Can be planted any time before the last frost inside around Feb. depending on your Spring condition. A few patches or in a row will do. For Fall blooming, I like to plant some asters in the Spring time and buckwheat. Buckwheat also good for the summer dearth too. Plant them in close patches for a dense forage.
My seed list include: Autumn sneezeweed, birds foot trefoil, joe pye weed, black calico aster, blue chicory, saint johns worth, purple prairie aster,red;white giant aster, red fortune sunflower, teddy bear sunflower, black oil sunflower, tower sunflower, swamp sunflower, yellow sweet clover, white sweet clover, sainfoin, purple ironweed, hairy mountain mint, buckwheat, sunchokes, purple collards, purple russian kale, purple broccoli, blue; white Borage and Nyger.
Trees: bee bee tree, drumstick tree, loquat, and sourwood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What I've planted so far (in my grass lawn):

crocus: 4 types (including snow)
Siberian squill
snowdrops: at least 2 types, single and double flower
Puschkinia (libanotica)
Eranthis (winter aconite)
Chionodoxa (pink giant)

I don't know much about the last 3. I briefly looked them up on the store's computer. I did the bulbs. I should probably do the seed (clover, etc.) next spring.
 

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Why not get rid of some of the lawn so you never have to add lime, water, fertilizer, micronutrients, charcoal or mow. Get a NE Wildflower mix from www.edenbrothers.com. You now have time to enjoy the wildlife instead of pushing a lawnmower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had to improve the soil because it was bad. I think the developers sold the topsoil. I use the lawn for abrasion resistance and to conquer an invasive that grows around the sides and doesn't handle mowing well. I want to focus mostly on dearth and drought flowers for the lawn, and flowering crops for other areas.

Charcoal doesn't break down much. It adsorbs nutrients. I'll make a retort for charcoal.
 

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Use the internet to find a vendor. Do a search for "Dutch clover seed". I just did and saw prices for 50 lb of $149 and $249.00. Package sizes Dow to 1/2 pound were also for sale on line. Some vendors sell inoculated seed. Once you know what the cheapest price it's available for, try to buy it from a local supplier if you can. Keep your local economy healthy.
 

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For the flowering crops, do consider Canola, mustard, and buckwheats.
Usually amazon and ebay should have them in bulk too. Do a search to find out.
 

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http://Justinseed.com

That is where I got my Hubam Clover.
Then have legumes and other clovers.
Wildlife seed mixes.
They have wildflower seed mixes as well.
Nice selections, check them out,
you might find something you like.
 
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