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Hi, all. I'm a rookie in raising honey bees and need some helpful advice. I plan to plant both yellow and white sweet clover next early spring. I know they are bi-annual plants and, as I understand, they do not produce blooms nor seeds the first year. Does that mean that I will have to replant again the following year to sustain a yearly supply of blooms for the bees?
Thanks for any advise.
Skizzix
 

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ideallym the plants should have been sawn this autumn for blooming next year.

You might still be able to get some flowers next year even if sawn next year, but it will certainly be a smaller plant than you would have had otherwise.
 

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Yes, sweet clover is a bi annual, i may be wrong but i think after the plant goes to seed the old plant dies. So what i've done is sow the seed for two years straight, that way i have sweet cover coming back each year. Jack
 

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be sure to put plenty of lime or wood ashes on your soil also to get the pH up.
Your right on, i have an abandoned rock (lime stone) quarry 3/4 mile down the road, and in july the sweet clover is so thick around it you can't hardly walk through it.:thumbsup: Jack
 

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Once Sweet Clover is established the seeds stay viable in the ground for several years (that's why many farmers turn it under before the seed sets when used to up the nitrogen and improve the soil), so even if there is a failure one year some seed will not sprout until the next year due to a hard "shell"

It would stand to reason then that the seed spread this spring will germinate for the next few years (not all at once) unless it has been scarfide by the harvesting processing so that it will all germinate at once (for the most part).

That being said, I planted 25lbs of the white and 22lbs of the yellow this spring. Next yr I plan to do the same for just the reason you stated. I want to ensure that I have a stand ever year until It is well established. One it is established it should take care of it self.

RKR
 

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I'm a Master Gardner here in North Carolina and this question may be helpful to anyone trying to understand perennial, annual, and biannual seeding. Perennial's are fairly simple..they come back every year and bloom and either split off from the root, bulb, or whatever; or they reseed or a combination of the two.
annual's bloom and go to seed and the parent plant dies all in one season. You can collect cuttings or seeds and reseed the plant the next spring and continue the life cycle in this way.
biannual's take two years to complete a life cycle. The first year they establish their roots and grow foliage preparing for what is usually a wonderful showing of bloom the second year of their life cycle which will also be their last. When they drop these seeds some will germinate and grow right away while some will germinate later in the year and even into the next growing season. After planting biannuals once, you will not need to reseed them the next year to ensure yearly blooms and reseeding because some of the seeds will take longer to germinate which will ensure the yearly reproduction.
I hope this cleared up some of the understanding. ALSO, with clover you will want to give that patch long enough to bloom and go to seed before mowing it down to ensure a good reseeding. Just thought I'd throw that in. I usually allow my clover patches to grow, bloom and go to seed once in the spring and once in the fall because I use it for my chickens which LOVE the clover! as do bees. This will be the first year I've had hives of my own to feed off the clover but in the past I've encouraged forager bees to come to my land to help with polination plus I enjoy watching the girls buzz around the herb gardens and annual borders while inadvertantly ensuring a good harvest in my vegetable garden.
 

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Good to have another newbie from NC. I started out on the 27th w/ 2 8 frame deep hives. I have been using hive top feeders using sugar water on one side and pollen patties on the other. Everything seems to be going good so far ... hope to be adding another deep soon. If you have time it would be good to hear how your hives are doing since you are not too far away. We should be seeing similiar weather conditions etc. Good Luck.
 
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