Did you know that with every jar you get the opportunity to treat the bees around you to a delicious and nutritious meal? In each pack we include a bee-friendly plant seed cardboard piece that you can plant and treat the bees in your garden or on your balcony. With this post, we’ve decided to answer the most frequently asked questions about seeds – what plants they’re from, when and where to plant them, how to care for them. And at the end of the post, we’ll share another idea on how to make the outdoor spaces around you more hospitable for bees and other pollinators.
What type of seeds do we provide in the “Adopt a hive” package?
When choosing the seeds to put in the packaging of the “Adopt a hive” jars, we were guided by two principles – the plants should be nectar rich, useful and loved by bees, and they should be quick and easy to grow both in the wild and at home (terrace 😊 ). So we settled on clover, phacelia and starflower.
The clover, often considered to be a nasty weed by gardners and farmers is actually a terrific source of pollen and nectar to the honeybees. It flowers between May till October which covers pretty much, the whole active season of bees in Europe. The clovers loves to be watered often as well as long sun baths. It develops equally nicely in a flower pot and at your garden The honey made from clover is delicate, airy and very aromatic.
Phacelia is one of the preferred crops among beekeepers and bees, as it is characterized by high honey yield – 1 acre of phacelia can yield up to 35 kg of honey. It is planted in the first half of the summer and is not too demanding in terms of soil type. It prefers cooler conditions but will does well on a sunny terrace. The phacelia is also very beautiful – it blooms in blue and pale purple, and its blooms can last up to a 100 days. An added bonus is that the phacelia self-seeds from fallen seeds, so once it takes hold, it’s likely to reappear around you next year.
Starflower is one of the most valuable forage crops to bees grown in Europe. Extremely unpretentious to soil and weather conditions, it provides food not only for bees, but also for farm grazing animals and a lot of other insects. A minimum temperature of 4 degrees is required for planting. It flowers from May to September and is often found in the honey bouquet of field herbs.
How to plant the seeds and what care to provide to the plants?
First of all, for a better success rate, gather several cardboard seed pieces to plant together. Tear them into pieces. The cardboard will provide a nutrient medium for the seeds and help them germinate while completely dissolving in the soil. Clover and starflower are perennials, and phacelia self-seeds annually in the same spot, so after the first planting and pinching, all you have to do is water and enjoy them.
Meadow or backyard
Choose a space that is not mowed or sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Plant the pieces about 2-3 cm apart at a depth of about 5 cm. Water regularly if you can.
On the balcony
As the stems of the plants are very fragile when germinating, and it is important that they get enough light, we advise you not to leave much space between the soil and the edge of the pot. Fill the pots almost to the brim with soil and plant the pieces again 2-3 cm apart and up to 5 cm deep. Water regularly.
Here are two more ways to help the bees and wild pollinators around you
In addition to nutritious food, you can help bees and other wild pollinators in two simple but very effective ways – by providing water and shelter.
Provide a water source for bees
Bees, like every other living creature, need water, and finding it in summer can be difficult. Therefore, you can also leave a source of water for them near the honey flowers. The easiest way is to fill a shallow bowl with different sized pebbles and cover halfway with water. This way, the bees can land on them and safely drink from the water without the risk of falling in and drowning.
Honey bees live in hives, but they quite different from all pollinators found in nature. The mason bee, for example, lives in crevices and cavities where it lays its eggs and then seals them until the young bees hatch. All in all, a large number of insects responsible for pollinating the plant species around us would benefit from the shelter that a pollinator hotel placed on the balcony would offer them. The hotel is most often a wooden house with various compartments made of sticks, tubes, dried grass or tree bark. You can buy a ready-made one or make one yourself – it’s easy to do, with almost handy or easily found materials in nature, and it’s a great activity to involve your children in.
Now you know how to support the bees around you, providing them with the three most important factors for their survival – food, water and shelter. Whichever you choose – thank you for your efforts to preserve biodiversity and help bees! 💛
Author: Stephanie Dimitrova, Adopt a hive
Picture sources: Adopt a hive, Unsplash