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.
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.
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?
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!
I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
This type of composting requires you to tumble or turn your pile to help break down materials more quickly.
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! 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Place the bed in its final location.
Ensure the bed is level using a level indicator.
Ensure the bed is square using a carpenter’s square or scrap piece of lumber.
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.
Screw the through the ends into the stakes to secure it in place.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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
Bountiful Blossoms Bee Company
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
I threw this in here in case you didn’t want to read the entire post.
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.
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.
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…
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 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.
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)
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.
Soak seeds for 5 hours in not cold and not warm water.
Strain the water out using a colander or something similar.
Dump the seeds onto a paper towel and lightly pat them.
While the seeds are drying a bit prepare your tray.
Using around 4 cups of water in the bottom of it.
Then fill the tray with soil up to around 1/2″ from the rim.
Once this is done sow the seeds directly onto the soil.
Ensure the seeds are as even as possible.
Press them all firmly into the soil so it is completely flat.
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.
Cover for 3-5 days and enjoy good germination and hopefully no mold.
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.
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.”
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…
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” 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…
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.