The “Mother’s Day Rule”

Mother’s Day is a very special time of year to remember not only Mothers, but all others who give us the unconditional love and compassion we use to get through each and every day. They don’t always hold the title of Mom, Momma, or Mother however, they keep us moving in the right direction and looking forward to the dawn on the horizon.

To my own Mother and the Mother of my boys. I appreciate everything you do for everyone in your life: The sacrifices that have been made, the amount of unconditional love, and the unseen battles that have been waged for our well-being.

Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

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How Mother’s Day Started

Mother’s Day started the year after Anna M. Jarvis’s own Mother passed away. In 1907 Anna asked the community to remember her mother on the first Sunday of May. She handed out over 500 white carnations, her mothers favorite flower. They were given to Mothers in her community. Since then, white carnations have been a symbol of unconditional love while pink carnations are the symbol more specifically of a Mother’s love.

By 1914 the 2nd Sunday in May would be declared the National observance day of Mother’s Day.

During the next few years Anna was in contact with various local City Leaders, Churches, and Politicians across the nation. By 1914 the 2nd Sunday in May would be declared the National observance day of Mother’s Day.

After the over-commercialization of the holiday, Anna grew resentful of Mother’s Day. It has become day to show your gratitude and appreciation for Mothers all around the globe.

What is the rule?

Photo by Alena Koval from Pexels

Mother Nature’s nurturing Spring is in full swing.

Mother’s Day Rule

After Mother’s Day the danger of last frost has passed and Mother Nature’s Spring is in full swing. (With exceptions in some of the Northern States)

My Mother Kept A Garden

So after Mother’s Day is over get your seedlings outside and CALL YOUR MOTHER!

If you are looking for any seeds or growing supplies check out True Leaf Market, they have a wide variety of seeds and equipment. My shipment usually gets to me in 2 – 3 business days. Thanks!

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The dirt on the dirt(soil) in your raised bed garden

The soil that goes into your raised bed is just as important as the sunlight and water. With a good concoction your plants can be thriving in no time. The correct mix of nutrients, drainage, and density is especially important in a raised bed garden.

Photo by Lukas on

Below you will find a wide variety of knowledge on the different ingredients that can go into a raised bed garden. I have listed a few cookie-cutter soil mixes, feel free to experiment with different proportions, it is intended to get you started in the right direction, at the end of the day only you can determine if the soil is the way you want it.

The “right” combination results in the end product being fluffy and well-draining.

Soil & Soil Additives

There are a great variety of things you can add to your soil. Each doing something a little different than the next. Being able to decide what to add to your soil will come to you much easier if you have a basic understanding of what is available to you.

Below you will find information on common soil ingredients. Using this information combined with the cookie-cutter mixes and your own intuition you should be able to determine how to build your soil concoction.


The top layer of soil that is high in organic matter and has naturally formed over 1000s of years. When purchasing topsoil there are two main types Blended Topsoil and “Organic” Topsoil.

Blended Topsoil

A mixture of mineral material, topsoil, and compost. This can be purchased in bulk from most garden supply centers. Soil quality is important prior to purchasing, be sure to ask for the most recent soil testing results. Most reputable suppliers will have this test done regularly.

Organic Topsoil

Contains shredded wood, moss, peat, animal manure, and whichever organic products the supplier decides. This is the most common topsoil to be found at hardware stores.

A word of caution against using this type, most of the ingredients will not be labeled. The “organic components” from supplier to supplier can vary greatly. This is fine as long as you don’t need or want to monitor your nutrient levels. However, for a gardener keeping a closer eye on everything it could be a spell for disaster. Just be aware of what you are purchasing and using and you will do just fine.

Garden Soil or Topsoil

Garden soil is topsoil enriched with compost and other organic materials. If you use garden soil extra compost and nutrient additives may not be necessary right away.

Peat Moss

A large absorbent moss that grows in dense masses on boggy ground. Peat moss is good for water and nutrient retention. While having a higher price than other soil additives, peat moss doesn’t break down as quickly (reuse) as coco coir would.

Photo by Roman Skrypnyk on

Some of the drawbacks to peat moss can easily offset the pros. It is acidic and can increase the PH level of your soil. Also, the environmental impact that harvesting peat moss has is substantial, the disturbance of bog lands is responsible for a good portion of greenhouse gasses released every year.

Coco Coir

Coconuts! Here is a more sustainable and environmentally friendly substitute for Peat moss. Coco coir is a direct by-product of the coconut industry. While both brown and white coco coir is available, brown is used in horticulture. Brown fibers are harvested from ripe coconuts and are thicker and have better water retention.

Most coco coir is dehydrated prior to shipment and will need to be hydrated prior to mixing. My 5lb block took 20 minutes to fully soak up 8 gallons of water. THAT’S A LOT OF WATER!

Most coco coir is dehydrated prior to shipment and will need to be hydrated prior to mixing. My 5lb block took 20 minutes to fully soak up 8 gallons of water. THAT’S A LOT OF WATER!

Coco coir is inert, when using it you will need to add nutrients in the form of compost or other organic materials.


Compost is the result of the process called composting, which is when organic materials and inorganic are decomposed into a simpler organic form. Composting can be done in larger or small scales however, most hot composting requires a pretty good size pile.

Types of Composting

Aerobic Composting

This type of composting requires you to tumble or turn your pile to help break down materials more quickly.

Anaerobic Composting

Grab a nose plug for this pile, add your scraps to the top and forget about it. The stinkier and slower of the three types here.


Worms! Worms! Worms! Utilizing you guessed it worms, oxygen and moisture this compost is a great additive to your garden soil. Worms can easily be maintained, emit very minimal odor, mostly regulate their own population, and can give you free bait for fishing. Keeping worms is very simple and can be done indoors or outdoors.

There are many more types of composting available to you, these are the main 3 that are discussed throughout. Keep on the lookout for a follow up article entirely about different types of composting.


Applying too much fertilizer can cause root burn on younger plants!

Applying too much fertilizer can cause root burn on younger plants! Fertilize with caution! Give your plants around 2 weeks to adjust to their new home. After this period begin to apply fertilizer once a week. Try not to over fertilize, usually 4 application over the course of 8 weeks is enough to get you through the growing season.

Your plants will love the added nutrients and you’ll love the added produce, flowers, or weeds (whatever your fancy). Sticking with an easy to use liquid fertilizer will help remove some of the struggles of measurements as your starting out. If you decide to buy your fertilizer from a store be sure to read the label and know what your are taking home and putting on your dinner table later in the fall.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

Another at-home method for a liquid fertilizer is Compost Tea, you create compost tea by steeping worm castings in water for 3 days, the resulting liquid will be full of nutrients from the castings.

Soil Amendments

The following substances can help with a variety of issues that you may encounter with your raised bed garden or any garden for that matter. From nutrient retention to supporting a sturdy root structure the following are must haves in any soil mix.


For any water loving plants you have to have vermiculite. In regards to water retention it is 2nd to none and will help keep your garden hydrated and deliver the moisture when needed.

Horticulture Vermiculite is formed by rapid heating of hydrated laminar minerals which results in the accordion like shape with multiple layers.

Vermiculite is a great tool to use in the garden, adding it to any seed starting mix or even growing plant cuttings in pure vermiculite will allow the roots to grow and support the plant.


Aeration and drainage are the largest benefits of perlite. Use perlite when a faster draining soil is required. It also helps prevent compaction by creating little pockets under the surface.

Be aware that adding too much perlite to your potting mix can result in fluoride burn (brown tips of leaves is a notable symptom).


Limestone is a lifesaver in terms of your gardens Ph levels. Sprinkling a little limestone in your garden can help balance the soil to a more suitable and sustainable level for the plants to thrive.

Adding limestone into your fertilizer is a great way to apply it. By preventing the build up of harmful nutrients in the soil and safely increasing the calcium levels limestone is a great ally to have.

Limestone raises the pH level to a neutral variety beneficial to flowers, usually between 5.5 and 6.5.

By being overly eager in this situation with sand you may end up with cement. If you decide to mix sand and clay together the results will make a great sidewalk or pathway.

Sand when added in the correct amounts greatly improves water drainage. There are only a few plants that will enjoy having this mixed in by their roots. These plants enjoy a dry soil.

  • Artemisia
  • Borage
  • Fennel
  • Germander 
  • Lavender
  • Mullein
  • Oregan
  • Rosemary 
  • Sage 
  • Santolina
  • Soapwort
  • Southernwood
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

Plant list source

DIY Mixes

I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.

If you are looking to purchase any soil amendments or additives be sure to shop around. True Leaf Market has a limited selection as of right now however, it is a good place to start.

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Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

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Building your raised bed

Insights, materials, building plans, and garden styles for your raised bed. Knowing how much lumber to buy is just the first part, the next is making sure you get the right boards or to realize you don’t want to use lumber at all.

The information below will assist you in building your raised bed garden as well as possibly give you few new tips or tricks. Ensure prior to starting building you have enough space for all the plants you are going to grow. The size of the bed has to be determined prior to cutting a single board. The building plans for the “4′ x 4′ raised bed” can be downloaded in PDF form for offline use if desired.


Going to buy lumber can be intimidating. Especially if you are not trying to poison the watering hole, so to speak. Certain types of lumber are coated with chemicals that can poison your raised bed.

Avoid using railroad ties or certain pressure treated lumber completely if your garden will be for vegetables or other edible plants.

Avoid using railroad ties as they can be coated with creosote. If you decide to use recycled lumber ensure you know what you are getting, most treated lumber that was manufactured prior to 2003 contains arsenic a carcinogenic. These chemicals can enter the soil and in turn enter the plants. If you are using your raised bed for flowers or other non-edible purposes you need to ensure the chemical will not adversely affect your selected plants or soil qaulity. It is recommended to avoid using these completely if your garden will be for vegetables or other edible plants.

Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels
Purchasable Materials
  • Rot resistant woods
  • Cedar (Expensive but pretty)
  • Redwood (Expensive but pretty)
  • Kits (Most nurseries carry these)
  • Concrete blocks (centers can be filled to give more planting space / expensive)
  • Galvanized Tin (Sharp edges may want to frame in)
Kits come in all shapes and sizes
Raised Bed Garden Kit
Raised Bed Garden Kit
Raised Bed Garden Kit

Think nature

When building a raised bed garden thinking lumber is your only option limits the creative possibilities. Natural materials make for great raised garden bed perimeters, they offer a unique and beautiful look for your landscape. At the same time maybe it will clean up that log pile that has been sitting there for a while.

Photo by Paula from Pexels
Natural Materials
  • Old logs
  • Stones or Rocks

Photo by Paula from Pexels

I would love to hear if you have any suggestions for other natural materials to use for a raised bed garden. Leave a comment below or where you saw this posted to help expand the article.


Ensure you buy stainless steel fasteners, this will prevent most rust and other elemental related issues. If you decided to go the natural route a good clay mixture can help keep your logs and stones from shifting too much. By making sure you use the right fasteners it will prevent a lot of heartache down the road. Imagine it now, its 3 months into the growing season a good rain happens and the side of your raised bed garden pops open with a mountain of dirt and plants. Screw it tight, screw it right.


I have listed out generic tools required to build a basic raised bed garden. These will get you started, extra’s refers to adding a bird net, mole net, or water irrigation system to your raised bed.

Essential Tools
  • Tape Measure
  • Skill Saw
  • Drill & Adapter for your fasteners
  • Fasteners
  • Level
  • Carpenter’s Square
  • Sledgehammer or other hammer
“Extra’s” Tools

Use hardware fabric to prevent moles and other burrowers from digging up your raised bed garden.

Hardware fabric is great addition to your raised bed garden as it prevents mole and other burrowing animals from entering and destroying your garden. Prior to filling your bed with soil place a sheet of the hardware fabric down ensuring the ends are folding up into the bed. This prevents it from drifting and giving a little digger room to squeeze in.

Tips for building

Building a raised bed garden for the first time can be full of challenges resulting in both victories and defeats. Here a some pointers to keep in mind while your building your dream raised bed garden.

  • Try to have someone there to help you as getting the first few boards together can be tricky.
  • Build it upside down so you do not have to fight balancing the entire thing as you screw it together.
  • Build it on a flat surface, as long as everything remains flat it should come out mostly square.
  • If you don’t have a carpenter’s square use a scrap piece of lumber, the manufactured corners will get you in the ballpark of square.
  • You will want to have stakes or posts at least every 4 feet to prevent bulging.
  • Ensure it is level when placing it in the ground.

Building a 4′ by 4′ raised garden bed

Step by step plans

Below is the material list, cut list, and instructions for building a 4 foot by 4 foot raised garden bed. A downloadable PDF copy is available here.

Material List

Two – 2 x 6 x 8 Cedar boards

One – 2 x 4 x 8 Cedar board

Stainless steel fasteners between 3″ – 5″

Cut List

(a)2x6x8 – 48″ / 48″

(b)2x6x8 – 45″ / 45″

2x4x8 – 18″/18″/18″/18″

  1. Cut one 2x6x8 into two 48″ pieces. (front & back)
  2. Cut one 2x6x8 into two 45″ pieces. (ends)
  3. Cut the 2x4x8 into four 18″ pieces. (stakes)
  4. Lay the sides and ends out on a flat surface with the faces of the front and back boards covering the ends of the end boards.
  5. Using two screws/fasteners on each corner, screw through the front and back boards into the end boards.

This is a good point to complete your prep work for the soil. Take the framed raised bed to its location and mark out the area to work your soil. Recommend scraping the grass from the surface and working to a depth of around 12 inches.

  1. Place the bed in its final location.
  2. Ensure the bed is level using a level indicator.
  3. Ensure the bed is square using a carpenter’s square or scrap piece of lumber.
  4. Drive your stakes into each corner of the bed.
    • It is recommended that you have stakes every 4 feet to prevent bulging. A taller bed may require more stakes than that, it is due to the added weight of the soil. Overtime the boards will bend if not supported properly at this stage.
  5. Screw the through the ends into the stakes to secure it in place.
  6. At this point you are ready to fill your bed and get to planting.

Keep an eye out for another article on mixing your soil for raised bed gardens.

Raised bed garden ideas

Using a raised bed really give you quite a lot of room to customize your garden. From size, location, appearance, depth, and just about everything about it. One of the most important things you can pick is the flora. By “designing” your garden it can be a wondrous place to escape to.

While almost everyone has heard of a vegetable garden have you ever thought about planting only miniature plants. This would appear as a fairy garden and since it’s in a raised bed it will be at the perfect height for little eyes.

If you live in an apartment with a larger window or balcony a great way to get some privacy is to plant miniature shrubs and evergreens. These bushy guys will help create a natural fence between your balcony and the busy streets below.

Perhaps you want to go out and grab all of your herbs in one go for your evening meal. You could grow an herbal raised garden bed with thyme, basil, and any other varieties you so desire. Just ensure everyone will get along when they are fully grown. Check a companion chart if you are unsure if plants can go together or not.

Companion Planting Chart for Vegetables

Building a raised bed garden can be fun and exciting, challenging and frustrating. However, the results as your basking in the fruits of your labor will pay off in the end. Decide if a raised bed garden is right for you and just do it. If you get inspired to build a raised bed garden or get helped by this article please let me know.

I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.

Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

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4 Things to Consider When Planning a Raised Bed Garden

This is the year to start planting and growing your own food. Raised bed gardening has tons of benefits including a comparatively higher yields in less space than conventional gardening (this is due to the added work put in with soil management and plant care). Since the soil gets warmer earlier, the plants can be placed closer together, that with the added benefit of creating your own soil mixture it can result in higher yields.

Below are 4 things to consider while planning your raised bed garden that you may not have thought of.

What you plan on growing

When planning your garden location it is important to consider all of the plants you intend on growing. Some plants need more light or shade than others. A wildflower bed for example can be located in a drier location than say a vegetable garden. Other examples would be vine gardens need a fence or trellis to climb, or a cactus/succulent garden could be located in a dry, sunny location that is not easily accessible by a watering hose.

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Starting with a list of the plants you intend on growing will give you a little clearer picture of where potential locations could be. This list will become important at a later stages in the process as well when determining the depth the garden bed needs to be. Each type of plant will require a different depth of bed, anywhere from 6″ to your desire (as long as you have the dirt to fill it).

How much space you have

If you only have a patio at your apartment building, sorry to say you may be stuck with a bit smaller container than say someone with a larger front or back yard, If you crowd yourself with too large of containers there will be no room to complete any of the daily garden care for your beds. For instance if you have to do any weeding but cannot reach one side of your bed it takes away from the convenience of not having to stretch across your entire garden.

Using the information you gather from the plants you could potentially plant you can plan out how big your garden bed needs to be, if you want to plant 4 tomato plants in a 4′ x 4′ bed you would divide the bed into 4 and plant in the center of each section. Planning it out in this stage will assist with preventing any overcrowding that may occur later on when things start to grow larger. Overcrowding can result in less yield, the plants in this situation are fighting each other for water and air circulation.

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

Another thing to consider is space for the bed itself. That is one of the joys of raised bed/container gardening your growing sections can be as small or as big as you want. Get started with a small pot and grow your own peppers or create a perma-culture front yard and only have to buy non-native produce.

What is your planting area like

What are you working with? Does your yard turn into a swamp land when it starts raining/Does your house get pelted by a hot south wind in the summer time/Do you have rodents/vermin that live close by. These are all questions you’ll want to ask to get to the answer to What is your planting area like.

When planning it is important to realize if there are any swampy areas or shady areas that will hinder your plants growth in the coming months. However, if you have these sections as well as good growing spots it opens up a wide variety of garden types you can choose from. From flower, food, or ornamental types the world is your oyster if you have the right micro climates in the same location.

Consider how the areas change with the season, those trees that are bare right now will be covered in leaves in month or so just as your plants germinate, making it more difficult for them to get the proper amount of sunlight. Is there a harsh wind on one side of your house, while plants need a breeze any extremely windy conditions can cause damage.

What is the purpose or goal of your garden

While planning your garden knowing how long you plan on having it around can help make some decisions. If you plan on planting a perennial garden you will want to place it in a location that it can be easily accessible for maintenance but also near a relaxing spot so it can be enjoyed.

Photo by Mark Stebnicki from Pexels

A few other garden purposes are food gardens, formal flower gardens, and wildflower gardens. While two of those are extremely gorgeous to look at, the food garden can help fill your pantry with very minimal work.

Keep your head up spring is just around the corner

With just these four questions you can ask yourself 100s more. Plan your garden and plan to grow things. I am excited for this planting season not only for what I have planned but also for what I have to adapt to. With spring around the corner get a jump on any seeds you might need by heading over to True Leaf Market. They have a huge selection of seeds as well as gardening equipment.

Expand your knowledge

If you are looking for a few books to get started learning more on raised bed gardening, I highly recommend these three.

I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.

More from the blog

Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

Who We Are


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Honey Bee – A busy insect with a lot to offer

Written and composed by:

Jared Myers

Edited by:

Heather Myers

Honey bees, are what I believe to be a very important insect to the plant and animal kingdoms, definitely including humans. Around 1/3 of the food Americans eat is pollinated by honey bees. Keep reading to dive into almost everything related to honey bees and amaze your friends with a compendium of knowledge at your fingertips (aka the internet).

Are you interested in learning about the different parts of a honey bee? Or maybe you want to know what type of flowers will be most beneficial to your little buzzing friend? It’s all laid out down below.

Photo by Johann Piber from Pexels

What is a Honey Bee?

Apis mellifera is a flying insect that lives on pollen and nectar. Being native to Eurasia but thanks to humans, they have found their way to every continent in the world except Antarctica.

Honey Bees are a vital part of the United States agricultural program. More than 100 crops are pollinated by bees which is vital for their growth. Some plants that benefit from bee pollination are apple trees, blueberry, watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumber to name a few.

Honey bees are a close relative to wasps and ants. They have a long straw-like tongue called a proboscis, two wings, two antennae, and 3 major body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen). There are 3 types of honey bees in a colony, and they all differ in looks and purpose.

Busy as a Bee, but Which One?

While looking at the 3 types of bees we will discuss: the difference in appearance and behavior, how the caste system works in the colony, and some issues that can arise because of some rebellious reproduction.

Queen Bee

There is one Queen Bee per colony. She is the only fertile member of the colony and will lay around 1,500 eggs a day. The Queen Bee is selected at the larvae stage by a drone and fed a special diet of “royal jelly”. Royal Jelly is a substance that is produced in the head of nurse bees (worker bees who take care of larvae). Queen Bees can live up to 7 years which is almost 60 times longer than a worker bee.

Bee Caste
Drone Bee – Male – Hundreds per colony
Worker Bee – Female – Thousands per colony
Queen Bee – Female – One per colony


The Queen emits the “Queen mandibular pheromone” (QMP). It provides a sense of belonging to the Queen for the entire colony. Due to its effects on social behavior, maintenance of the hive, swarming & mating behavior, and the inhibition of ovary development in worker bees it is considered one of the most important pheromones in the hive.

The QMP acts as a sex pheromone and attracts drone bees to an unmated queen. Newly hatched Queens produce very little QMP while just 6 days after this she will be producing enough to attract mating drone bees. A Queen that is laying eggs will produce twice as much as that.

The lack of QMP in a colony can be an invitation to robber bees. Robber bees will arrive and take what they want while leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

“Robbing for honey has higher chances of happening at certain times. Honeybee colony strength and climatic conditions are the main factors that influence robbing between honeybee colonies. A honeybee colony fighting a disease, parasite or pest invasion is weak, and as such cannot fight off an invasion by robber bees. It may also have many weak and deformed bees that cannot fight off beehive invaders.”

Bee Keeper Club

Photo by Timothy Paule II from Pexels

Soon after birth the Queen will go out and enjoy a cavalier love life for two days or so. In this time period she will mate with 15 or more drones before retiring to the hive to lay eggs. The Queen will not leave the hive again unless the colony swarms.

Spotting the Queen Bee can be difficult while looking in a colony of bees however, she can be identified by the long abdomen and small wings. It will be one the larger if not one of the largest bees in the entire colony.

A Queen Bee larvae surrounded by royal jelly.

Health Benefits of Royal Jelly

According to here are 12 potential Health Benefits of Royal Jelly:

  • Contains a variety of nutrients
  • May Provide Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects
  • May Reduce Heart Disease Risk by Impacting Cholesterol Levels
  • May Aid Wound Healing and Skin Repair
  • Specific Proteins May Lower Blood Pressure
  • Regulates Blood Sugar by Reducing Oxidative Stress and Inflammation

  • Antioxidant Properties May Support Healthy Brain Function
  • May Increase Tear Secretion And Treat Chronic Dry Eyes
  • May Provide Anti-Aging Effects Through Various Means
  • May Support a Healthy Immune System
  • Reduces Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
  • May Treat Certain Symptoms of Menopause

Royal jelly contains water, carbs, protein, fat, B vitamins, and trace minerals. Its unique proteins and fatty acids may be the reason for their potential health benefits. More studies are required before confirming the health effects royal jelly may have.

Worker Bee

More than likely you have seen a worker bee as they do most of the work for the hive. From birth till death they have a “job”. Over the course of their short life of 45 days, the worker bee will be assigned a variety of tasks from feeding the larvae to collecting pollen for the colony. All worker bees are female and would normally reproduce, but thanks to the Queen Mandibular Pheromone (QMP) that ability is inhibited. The QMP is essential to hive function as it elicits behavioral changes in remaining workers, preventing the rearing of new queens, and preventing ovary development.

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
Trouble in the hive

While the worker bee does a majority of the work and heavy lifting in the colony she can also cause a pretty big problem.

In one simple de script word REBELLION. Rebel worker bees have the capability to produce their own offspring. This essentially adds another queen to the mix, as the offspring laid by the rebel will be loyal to her and her offspring. Normally the Queen can control these rebels through the use of the QMP and hive behavior, by inhibiting the reproduction and having the rebel eggs removed.

According to a study conducted in 2017 Rebel worker bees can occur in Queen right and Queen less colonies. If rebel workers are left uncontrolled the efficiency of the hive is sure to suffer significantly.

The life of a worker bee

The first two weeks after birth the worker bee will be considered a house bee. This includes performing all sorts of tasks around the hive. After this period she will take an orientation flight and become a forager. The worker bee will forage for the rest of her days.

Workers that reach maturity in the late fall may live well into the following spring. They must maintain a cluster of bodies around the queen bee, keeping her warm through the winter months. Later, when egg-laying resumes, they must raise the first generation of young bees the next year.


Other duties

The worker bee is where the phrase “As busy as a bee” had to come from. These hard-working insects do just about everything for the hive. Even when it’s time to move, they help the colony out by scouting out potential hive locations. When a honey bee colony is moving to a new location the event is called swarming.

Swarm of bees located in Melbourne, AU
Prepare to SWARM!!

The colony will prepare to swarm a few days prior, the Queen is too large to fly so the workers will put her on a diet before swarming. Egg production is little to non-existent. Once the colony swarms, they will gather close to the original hive while the scouts fly out and locate a suitable location for a new hive. The quality of the location can be indicated by how excited the bees dance upon returning. Later on, we will explore some different bee dances and what they mean.

The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.

Worker Bee Tasks
  • Secrete beeswax for use in the hive
  • Forage for all nectar and pollen brought to the hive
  • Process said pollen and nectar
  • Produce royal jelly to create another Queen if necessary
  • Caretaker of Larvae and Queen
  • Removes dead bees and debris from the hive
  • Defends the hive
  • Maintains the temperature of the hive through heating, cooling, or ventilation
Photo by Timothy Paule II from Pexels


Beeswax is mainly used in the hive to build honeycombs in which they store larvae, honey, and pollen. It’s also used in a large number of industries, including making candles to preserving food, or as an additive to make-up.

Did you know?

In order for worker bees to produce 1 pound of beeswax they would need to consume 6-10 lbs. of honey.

Photo by
from Pexels

Beeswax is produced from empty honeycomb which is melted and then strained to remove any impurities. After which it is poured into molds to solidify.

Beeswax candles

Beeswax candles pull toxins and do not produce soot when burned. They also burn longer than regular candles.

Beeswax is a great natural alternative to a lot of common everyday use items. Lip balm, lotion bars, or crayons are a great place to give beeswax a go.

How do they make the good stuff?


No matter where you learned it, either from a small bear with a big belly or just from tasting it the flavor of honey is mouthwatering, sweet, and delicious. Honey has been used by human civilizations for thousands of years. High qaulity honey has been know to contain high amounts of antioxidants, cure a child’s sore throat, and even promote burn & wound healing.

Honey is made from nectar collected by a bee and stored in their honey belly. Which is then transported to the hive where the foraging bees regurgitate the nectar and pass it along to other worker bees. Though additional regurgitation and flapping their wings the moisture content of the nectar is lowered from around 70% to 25%. At this point the liquid will become vicious and actual honey.

Processed nectar aka honey is stored in honeycombs for later use. The bees will stockpile the honey for a wide variety of things, mainly of which is to last through the winter. Bees are required to burn tremendous amounts of calories keeping the hive and Queen warm. They do this by beating their wings rapidly to create heat, much in the same way you would shiver to keep warm.

Honey Facts

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

An enzyme located in honey called glucose oxidase breaks glucose down into hydrogen peroxide, after which it is fed to the larvae and aids as a germ deterrent.

People have been harvesting and using honey for over 6000 years.

Honey that was over 3000 years old was discovered in an Egyptian Pharaoh’s tomb and was still edible.

The flavor of the honey can be changed by the type of flowers the bees used to produce it. Honey created using Orange Blossom nectar will have a slight orange taste.

Objects immersed in honey have been preserved for centuries. The essential factor being that it is an air tight container.

Buy from and support a local beekeeper

The health benefits you get by buying from a local beekeeper are great as well. The honey and other products from the hive can help acclimate your body to the allergens that are present in your area. (Currently lacking scientific backing, however, widely spread belief and practice.)

Southwest Iowa Beekeepers

3 Bee Farms

Griswold, IA

In the summer, you can find 3 Bee Farms at Farmers Markets all around Southwest Iowa. In the Fall, our onsite store outside of Griswold, IA is open everyday in September and October. The rest of the year you can find us giving presentations about Bees, Ag related topics, and our business.

3 Bee Farms

Bountiful Blossoms Bee Company

Glenwood, IA

Carol and Brian’s mission is to produce and sell the highest quality honey and beeswax products to consumers. To do this, they take extra steps to provide a high quality product, including harvesting honey at different time points during the year so customers can appreciate different varietal honeys…(cont. on their website)


Those of you not located in SW Iowa check check for beekeepers in your area to see what products they have to offer.

If you are a local beekeeper in Southwest Iowa and would like your information located here contact us at

Photo by Petr Ganaj from Pexels

Drone bees

A drone bees function is to mate with Queens from other colonies. Drones are easily identifiable with large eyes and big round bodies.

Africanized Honey Bees

Africanized Honey Bees are a hybridized version of African Bees and European Honey Bees. African Bees were initially brought to South America in the 1950s to attempt to breed a species of bee that would be able to withstand warmer climates. Due to an accidental swarm of the African Bees, the breeding attempt was not completed.

AHBs are less docile than their European counterparts, they will mercilessly defend their nest with 100s of bees and take a lot fewer stimuli to agitate. This could be due to honey stealing that would occur in Africa or it could be due to climatic and seasonal struggles.

The rapid expansion of the Africanized Honey Bee in South America Earned it the tittle of most invasive species. In one day it could travel from 200-300 miles.

Currently in the US AHBs are as far north as Oklahoma. It is believed they struggle to move further north because of the temperature.


I had to have at least one bee pun. Sorry not sorry.

Honey bees have a few dances to take note of the waggle, the tremble, and grooming. Each of which is a different communication to other bees around. They can even be as specific as to how far it is to the foraging grounds.

While the waggle dance is normally used for foraging locations of 40km or greater from the hive it is a term used to describe the round dance as well. Due to the fact, the round dance can contain a waggle in the middle just as the waggle dance would.

The waggle dance is performed by the worker bee by moving in a small figure-eight pattern. A waggle run is performed first followed by a turn to the right to go back to the starting point and repeat only turning to the left this time. This is continued in this pattern until the message is relayed.

Defending the Hive

Why you would get stung.
  • Messing with a hive.
  • Squishing a bee near the hive.
  • Acting too threatening around the hive.
Why you probably wont get stung.
  • A bee is foraging away from the hive
  • You see a swarm of bees, remember they don’t have much to defend.
  • If a bee happens to land on your colorful shirt.

If you are stung by a honey bee, move away from the hive and attempt to get the stinger out. Wash the area with soap and water. Applying a cold compress may help reduce swelling.

Planting a Bee Garden

A great way to help bees is to plant a bee garden, it can be a few flowers in a window sill, a planned out landscape garden, or an entire field planted with nectar and pollen-producing flowers.

One of the main things to think of when planting this garden is that the bees will need a source of food all year long, be sure to sow a variety of seeds that bloom from spring to fall. There are plenty of pre-filled seed packs available however, it can be fun to put together your own set.

Get ready to plant your bee garden today!

This bee friendly seed pack offered at True Leaf Market offers 19 varieties of flowers. Including, asters, primrose, echinacea, cosmos, coneflower, California Poppy, and Baby Blue Eyes.

Seeds: Bee Friendly WildFlower Mix – 5 g- …

For vegetable and fruit gardeners, planting flowers with your vegetables in your garden… [More]

Price: $2.69


From The Honey Bee Conservacy

  • Plant native flowers
  • Select single flower tops
  • Plan for blooms season-round
  • Skip the highly hybridized plants
  • Build homes for solitary bees
  • Only use natural pesticides and fertilizers
  • Create a “bee bath”

To End it for now,

Honey Bees are amazing insects. They produce some of the sweetest and most delicious substance on the planet, they assist with a large part of the United States pollination.

The amount of knowledge I have gained through typing this “blog post” is unreal and I am looking forward to doing it again to expand on my knowledge of things. This article was intended to be an everything about honey bees however, the amount of knowledge that is out there in regards to bees is tremendous and it would take a lifetime of dedication to learn and relay it all. If you have any questions, issues, or corrections about the article please feel free to reach out. If you have a beekeeping question please reach out to a local beekeeper and make a new friend in your region with the same interests as you!

Be a part of the larger whole, the force that brings forth all that is sweet and delightful.

“The Spirit Animal Oracle” by Colette Baron-Reid

Best Gifts on True Leaf Markets Gift Guide

Here is what I think are the top gifts are on True Leaf Markets gift guide. If you need any ideas on what to get a plant lover for the holidays this is a great place to start.

Featured Image by monicore from Pexels

There are 96 items total on the gift guide page. A lot of which are going out of stock. The prices are amazing and the contents are something to be had for a holiday gift. Here are my top 3 that are still in stock to get your hands on. Definitely take a look and see they have something for everyone the gift guide from Grow lights to all sorts of medicinal and culinary herb kits.

From now until December 1st everything on True Leaf Markets Gift guide is 15% off.

I am an affiliate marketer for True Leaf Market and if you decide to purchase from True Leaf Market after clicking any of the links I will receive a commission for the sale. I appreciate any and all support.

TL:DR Section

I threw this in here in case you didn’t want to read the entire post.

Culinary Herb Garden Starter -Premium Kit …

Grow your own fresh cooking herbs indoors year round. Add zest and flavor to your cooki… [More]

Price: $27.29
Stainless Steel Fermentation Jar Lids & Si…

This complete stainless steel fermentation kit includes three airlock lids that fit wid… [More]

Price: $36.83
Mexican Salsa Garden Seed Collection – Del…

Start your own Mexican Salsa garden seeds indoors and get a jump on the growing season…. [More]

Price: $13.64

Culinary Herb Kit – Great for a new and seasoned gardeners

This kit is a great way to introduce someone to gardening and it can be done on your countertop. If you have a friend who enjoys gardening and you’re not sure what to get them try this out, it has a large variety of seeds and all of the kits come with seed trays, soil pucks, and humidity domes. You also get an easy to follow set of instructions.

Now is the perfect time to start indoor gardening. Grab someone this gift and they are sure to fall in love with the amount of flavor and aroma fresh herbs can add to your cooking.

3 Different Kits Offered

Each kit offers a different amount of seed packs and growing materials.


6 Seed Packs – Basil – Sweet, Dill, Oregano, Parsley, Chives, & Mustard

Price: $13.64


12 Seed Packs – Basil – Sweet, Dill, Oregano, Parsley, Chives , Mustard, Cilantro, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic Chives, Arugula

Price: $18.89


18 Seed Packs – Basil – Sweet, Dill, Oregano, Parsley, Chives , Mustard, Cilantro, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic Chives, Arugula, Anise, Fennel, Peppermint, Summer Savory, Basil – Lemon, Basil – Thai

Price: $27.29

Culinary Herb Garden Starter -Premium Kit …

Grow your own fresh cooking herbs indoors year round. Add zest and flavor to your cooki… [More]

Price: $27.29

Stainless Steel Fermenting Set – Amazing maintenance-free lids

Ferment like a pro with this stainless steel set. It is one of the lowest maintenance sets on the market. They also use the least amount of plastic compared to any other fermenting set.

Stainless Steel Fermentation Jar Lids & Si…

This complete stainless steel fermentation kit includes three airlock lids that fit wid… [More]

Price: $36.83

Contained in this kit

3 Stainless Steel waterless silicon airlock lids

3 Pickle Helix Weight Coils

Other fermenting gift ideas
Book – Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

Wild Fermentation from Sandor Katz is a richly detailed guide for all things fermented…. [More]

Price: $27.96
Nik Schmitt German Pickling Fermentation C…

5 to 30 Liter capacity fermentation crock pots by Nik Schmitt. German pickling crocks f… [More]

Price: $135.45
Stainless Steel Fermenting Kit – Waterless…

This complete stainless steel fermentation kit includes three airlock lids that fit wid… [More]

Price: $20.11

Mexican Salsa Garden Seeds Non-Hybrid – Get a head start on your seeds this year

If you are looking for a sign that you need a salsa garden next year this is it. You can get 12 different seed types including Beefsteak Tomato, Brandywine Tomato, Hampson Tomato, Tomatillo, Cayenne Long Red, Anaheim Chile, Jalapeno, Serrano, White Sweet Spanish Onions, Utah Yellow Sweet Spanish Onions, Walla-Walla, and Cilantro.

Check out this amazing garden salsa recipe located at Taste of Home.

Copy the recipe above and create one of the freshest garden salsa you have ever made next year by using this seed pack.

Mexican Salsa Garden Seed Collection – Del…

Start your own Mexican Salsa garden seeds indoors and get a jump on the growing season…. [More]

Price: $13.64

5 Day sale currently

From November 26th until December 1st everything on the gift guide is 15% off.

Click the True Leaf Market Logo to get started shopping.

Latest from the Blog

Wabash Trace Forage Walk – Learning Foraging Skills In Rural Iowa

Plant identification is crucial to anyone looking to forage for their own food or medicine. Knowing what to look for will make the difference between a soothing cup of tea or hospital visit. In an effort to expand my own knowledge and meet others in the community with like minded ideas, my wife and I…

Not so good of a harvest last week, next batch is looking great

Last Weeks Harvest

In short we learned a lot from last week. We had two good trays of Salad Mix and 1 good tray of Rambo Radish. The weights we harvested out of each tray are listed below. I will be listing out our harvest amounts here for all of our individually packaged microgreens.

Salad Mix Microgreens
  • Salad Mix 1 – 13.5 oz
  • Salad Mix 2 – 12.9 oz
  • Radish 1 – 8.1 oz

So what happened to the other trays

3 Black Oil Sunflower Trays

As I want this to be an informative blog and not hide the ugly stuff from people. We lost 3 of our sunflower trays to mold growth. The mold had set in at the same time germination started. All of the trays were mostly covered with the same stuff. So we scrapped those three right when I lifted the lid off.

Lesson learned from that set of trays would be to not soak the seeds for so long prior to planting. I soaked these ones for around 7 hours. The batch prior to this one I did not have good enough germination and was attempting to see if soaking the seeds for longer would help at all. The recommended soak time from the distributer is 4 hours. The germination rate was phenomenal this time however, as mentioned the mold was now an issue. I address this with the next planting. So far we have germination and ZERO mold. I go into my process I am attempting this time in further detail down below in the next section.

2 Rambo Radish Trays

These two trays were part of an experiment to see how long the trays would last before all of the plants wilted / tilted over. The germination has mostly been good with the rambo radish. This time was a little different since one of these trays only germinated around 50%.

I determined the bad germination was from not pressing the seeds enough into the soil and not wetting them enough prior to the dark period. This weeks radishes are looking amazing as well.

As for the “spoil” time it was around Day 10 when both trays started laying over. Each day was progressively worse with the center of the tray holding on to stay upright. On day 14 I went to check on them in the morning and the rest of them had laid down. These trays were chopped up and added to the compost pile.

Purple Radish Microgreen

In summary it was a good learning week. I understand a lot more about mold growth and germination rates and will continue to improve in the future. My microgreen adventure is just beginning and I am looking forward to sharing all of my lessons learned on here.

Interested in growing your own microgreens? True Leaf Market has kits to bring some of the freshest greens into your own kitchen.

Microgreens are growing better this week

This week under the grow lights we have nothing right now in terms of microgreens. That is going to change tomorrow though as all of our trays will be coming out of the dark period except carrots. I peeked at the trays to make sure we had germination occurring and there wasn’t any mold that I could see. Both of which passed with flying colors. All of the trays have germinated well. (Pictured Below)

What’s growing?

Links for all seeds packs used are located at the bottom of the page.

All of our microgreens are currently germinating or have germinated and are finishing the dark period. The carrots have just started to germinate and will take a little longer just due to the fact they are carrots and grow slower. The total grow time for the carrots is around 14 – 20 days. I am excited to give those a shot, from what i’ve heard they taste a little bit like a carrot and have the same texture as dill.

Sunflower seed process

I have setup a fairly simple process for my sunflower seeds, the mold is a major issue that I do not intend on having again. If it shows up i’ll figure out what went wrong and correct it.

Alright the process.

  1. Soak seeds for 5 hours in not cold and not warm water.
  2. Strain the water out using a colander or something similar.
  3. Dump the seeds onto a paper towel and lightly pat them.
  4. While the seeds are drying a bit prepare your tray.
  5. Using around 4 cups of water in the bottom of it.
  6. Then fill the tray with soil up to around 1/2″ from the rim.
  7. Once this is done sow the seeds directly onto the soil.
  8. Ensure the seeds are as even as possible.
  9. Press them all firmly into the soil so it is completely flat.
  10. Using your fingers disturb the seeds so they are all staggered but still in the growing medium. I kind of do a poking motion with all five fingers. Similar to the way you would never eat a cake unless your 5 years old.
  11. Cover for 3-5 days and enjoy good germination and hopefully no mold.
My trays

Below are the two types of trays I currently use. I am exploring some alternate options right now. Some of which are running out of stock, it seems like indoor growing is becoming a popular thing.

10\” x 10\” Microgreens Growing Drip Tray …

10×10 inch growing trays without drain holes. Half the size of our normal plant / wheat… [More]

Price: $10.56
10 Microgreens Growing Drip Trays 20\”x10\…

Large growing trays with NO drain holes. Perfect as a drip tray for trays with holes, o… [More]

Price: $23.36

Herbs are starting to smell amazing

Ceramic pots, ice cream containers, coffee containers, and nursery pots

Right now our nursery is looking like a grocery store mixed with a red clay house. Don’t let the looks fool you. The ice cream containers are working out pretty well for cilantro and sage. I drilled a few holes in the bottom to allow for drainage and a few extra ones along the side to help with aeration. Enough about that though.

The smell right now is amazing. The sage, basil, cilantro, and catnip are starting to get some of their oils. I think the local cat can smell it too he was sitting outside the window the other day.

The bumps on the sage leaves look extremely interesting to me. As they progress and get larger it will be fun to watch them grow and expand into its full size.

Excited about the catnip

The catnip is going to be a good diverse plant we can keep. With the ability to harvest, dry it, and store it for a long period or sell it as a whole plant. On a side note did you know that catnip is an herbal remedy for an upset stomach.

What’s in store for the future next week and beyond?

For microgreens you read about what we have growing right now, what I didn’t mention was the seeds that we have on order. This week we are getting Romaine Lettuce, Lettuce, Broccoli, and Dun Pea microgreen seeds. I am excited as ever to give these a shot and expand our catalog and hopefully attract more customers.

I want to get a few restaurant customers with returning orders on a steady schedule. I am still working on educating people in my community about the large benefits of eating microgreens. Being from a smaller rural community some of the “trends” don’t quite make it out here. With a little luck and help from the community our business will get through this tough time. For the time being i’m going to keep growing my greens.

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

— Fitzhugh Dodson

Historical Forest Gardens – Human-made improvements that stood the test of time

Indigenous forest gardens that have not been managed for over 150 years are still standing and thriving with life. These gardens have been resistant to the advances of the surrounding conifer forests and continued to provide a vibrant feeding ground for wildlife long after the indigenous people were forced from them in the 1800s. With…

Starting your own microgreens and tips on growing

Learning to grow your own food is fun, affordable, and rewarding. Microgreens are one of the best ways to be introduced to gardening as it is small scale and the harvest is relatively quick. As most gardeners know, getting that first harvest is very inspiring for the seasons to come and can blossom into a…

The “Three Sisters” and how you can use them today

The “Three Sisters” or milpa are an agricultural system with origins dating back to Mesoamerica. Native Americans developed this method using mostly corn, beans, and squash. Through a very symbiotic relationship(companion planting) all three of these crops flourish creating a natural biodiversity that can improve soil quality. Using the more advanced farming techniques a surplus…

Seed Packs

Seeds: Microgreens – Basic Salad Mix- 1 Lb…

Basic Salad Micro Mix. A flavorful and colorful combination of microgreens that grow we… [More]

Price: $15.57
Purple Radish Microgreens – 1 Lb ~42,800 S…

Purple Radish Seeds. Non-GMO, Raphanus sativus. A solid, reliable microgreen for growin… [More]

Price: $18.32
Sunflower Microgreens Seeds – 5 Lb – Bulk …

Certified Organic. Sprouts have a earthy and hearty flavor. Baby sunflower greens are a… [More]

Price: $39.30
Carrot Microgreens Seeds – 1 Lb – Non-GMO …

Carrot Microgreens Seeds. Carrots can be grown as microgreens. The green top when in mi… [More]

Price: $23.97

Using microgreens

Basic Salad Mix from True Leaf Market
My top 10 uses for microgreens

Below I have listed some of my top recommendations for your tasty microgreens.

Purple Radish from True Leaf Market
Photo by Arvin Nav from Pexels
Top an omelet with a fresh garden kick by adding purple radish microgreens.

Add the Salad mix to your smoothie and blend it up for a large punch of nutrients

Sprinkle some on top of avocado toast
Sunflower Guacamole

Courtesy of Alive

By adding some to a spring salad you can improve on an already amazing dish

Courtesy of Kitchen Vignettes

Enjoy as a salad by itself by adding some cheese and ranch dressing.
Pizza With Pesto, Mozzarella, And Arugula Microgreens
 Grilled Cheese With Ham And Brie Sandwich With Microgreens, Apple and Dijon
Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels
Add them to any cheeseburger to sneak in an extra fresh crunch.
Wild Rice And Microgreen Salad

Quick look at Nasturtiums

I wanted to share some info about the beautiful edible flower the Nasturtium.

There are many different types of Nasturtiums, some of the more popular ones are the jewel mix (this is what I currently have planted), Alaska, Whirlybird Mix, and Empress of India.

They come is many different colors and shapes, they are most distinguishable by the leaf patter that appears very early on in plant life.

Nasturtiums are an edible flower. I have found a very delicious looking recipe I am going to try out tonight. Find that recipe here.

I also wanted to show off a few pictures of the ones I currently have in the garden.

In the next growing season I am hoping to have a few more varieties such as Canary Creeper and Black Velvet (pictured below).

Expansion announcement

I am excited to announce that we will be expanding the operations tomorrow. Once the new light gets here we will be able to get about 15 more microgreen trays setup with about 15 more potted herb plants as well. I will more than likely be live streaming the event or uploading a video on the upgrades shortly after they are complete. The light we got is a Yintatech 1000W LED Grow Light, Growing Lamp Full Spectrum for Indoor Hydroponic Greenhouse Plants Veg and Flower with Double Switch, Daisy Chain, Adjustable Rope Hanger, Hygrometer Thermometer. Shipped out a lot faster than I expected so we have some work to do to get the area ready.

That light covers a ~25 sqft area. This is a super exciting time for Myers Greens and we can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for us.

As for the other grow lights we have setup a lot of nursery pots containing basil, catnip, and sage. We are growing all them for both dry and fresh herbs. The sage may have some witchy things going on too on some of the plants.