As a backyard or urban beekeeper, you will need to ensure that your honeybees can find the pollen and nectar they need to build and support a healthy hive, and in the process, produce quality honey. Though your bees will go into other backyards and gardens to forage for pollen and nectar, your backyard should provide a plethora of flowers and plants that will provide the necessities for your bee colony.
Plants with high nectar and/or pollen content are the best plants to fill your garden with. The following ten plants are particularly attractive to honeybees due to their high nectar and/or pollen content:
- Borage (Borago offcinalis)
- Lemon Balm/Melissa (Melissa officinalis)
- Phacelia (Phacela tanacetifolia)
- White Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba)
- Echium (Echium vulgare)
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
- Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalus)
- Goldenrod (Solidago)
- Cornflower/Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea cyanus)
- Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
You will need to check with your local nursery to see which of these plants are the best for your climate and area of the country. You should also consult with other local beekeepers to learn about other plants that are high in nectar and pollen that will contribute to higher rates of honey production.
You can also check out these website for more information:
“Plants for Honeybees,” The Melissa Garden: a Honeybee Sanctuary
“Guide to Bee-Friendly Gardens, Urban Bee Gardens
Fall is a time when the garden and yard finishes off its harvest and begins to prepare for a season of sleep. As caretakers we begin to rake and clip back plants to clean things up and put the gardens and flower beds to bed for winter. This ritual of annual cleanup is actually counterproductive to the wild life that may live in our yards. We are removing a major source of food and shelter. This does not mean you have to abandon your usual autumn chores, but there are a few things you can keep in mind that will help your furry, feathered and slithery friends.
Skip the Bag and Mulch
Leaves and grass clippings make great mulch for your garden and flower beds. Apply about two to three inches of mulch around the yard. In addition to providing some shelter for wildlife, this also gives your perianal plants and vegetable beds some nutrients. You can also create a brush pile if you can spare a corner of your yard. Stray branches, twigs and leaves provide nesting materials for squirrels, ground birds, rabbits and hibernating insects and amphibians. You can compost these in the spring for your garden soil.
Put Down The Clippers
Hold off clipping back all the flowers and seed heads. These can provide birds and critters with some food through the fall and into winter. Flowers such as cone-flowers, sunflowers and marigolds are loved by the wildlife.
Provide Food and Water Sources
In bird baths or shallow basins, float a tennis ball to prevent freezing. If possible change out the water during the winter months. Heated bird baths are also available if you want to invest to keep your feathered guests happy. Providing suet and a high protein seed mix in your bird feeders will help them find the calories needed to survive till spring.
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Vancouver & Portland Area Farmers’ Markets
It is getting to be that time of year…soon the rain will lift and you can stroll down to your local market for a delighful array of fresh fruits, vegitables and local vendors. Here are some of the area markets, click on the link to go to their website.
Old Town Market Battle Ground, WA (Saturday)
Camas Farmers’ Market Camas, WA (Wednesday)
Ridgefield Farmers’ Market Ridgefield, WA (Saturday)
Vancouver Farmers’ Market Vancouver, WA (Saturday & Sunday)
Beaverton Farmers’ Market Beaverton, OR (Wednesdays & Saturday)
Canby Farmers’ Market Canby, OR (Saturday)
Cedar Mill Farmers’ Market Beaverton, OR (Saturday)
Cully Farmers Market Portland, OR (Sunday)
Estacada Farmer’s Market Estacada, OR (Saturday)
Forest Grove Farmers’ Market Forest Grove, OR (Wednesday)
Gladstone Summer Market Gladstone, OR (Saturday)
Gresham Farmers Market Gresham, OR (Saturday)
Hollywood Farmers Market Portland, OR (Saturday)
Hillsboro Farmers’ Market Hillsboro, OR (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday)
Irvington Farmers Market Portland, OR (Sunday)
Lloyd Farmers Market Portland, OR (Saturday)
Milwaukie Farmers Market Milwaukie, OR (Sunday)
Moreland Farmers Market Portland, OR (Wednesday)
North Plains Farmers’ Market North Plains, OR (Saturday)
Oregon City Farmers Market Oregon City, OR (Saturday)
Parkrose Farmers Market Portland, OR (Saturday)
Peoples Coop Portland, OR (Wednesday)
Portland Farmers’ Market Portland, OR (Saturday)
Scappoose Farmers’ Market Scappoose, OR (Saturday)
Windance Farms and Art Portland, OR (Thursdays)
Woodstock Farmers Market Portland, OR (Sunday)
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