Best flowers to plant on a 4 acre plot for bees

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by R Dewhurst, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. R Dewhurst

    R Dewhurst New Member

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    Looking for suggestions from the boards on what they think is the best match of flowers for bees for an all year round supply of food for them. Thoughts or suggestions welcome.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Gotta have some clover in the mix for sure. :grin:
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd help but I'm in Texas. And gardening is seriously local
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    im with perry on this one clover it is:thumbsup:
     
  5. R Dewhurst

    R Dewhurst New Member

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    I found sweet yellow clover, but it flowers on the 2nd year. gonna plant it anyways though
     
  6. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Have you considered dandelions? You can't really get them from seed, but if you can dig up a few from somewhere and get them established, they'll spread themselves pretty readily.
    If this is just a large plot you want perennials and "wild flowers" in for forage, bees absolutely love dandelions. Each spring in the community garden I fight to keep the dandelions we have all around the edges, for the ladies, while all the other gardeners fight to eradicate every dandelion in existence. Heh.
    As a bonus, dandelions are a fantastic nitrogen fixer, so plowing under a field of dandelions one fall would make for some nice soil the next spring for planting.
     
  7. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    White clover in the field, so you can cut it, and it's flowers keep coming back.
    Sweet clover on the perimeter of the field. Works for me.:smile:
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    my vote would go to some soil building crop. vetch down here is pretty easy to establish and is (or at least use to be) fairly inexpensive seed. any of clover (you do need to innoculate the seed to get proper nitrogen conversion) would be on my primary list.
     
  9. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    I'm going to try some hubam clover this fall. It's an experiment...only an acre or so. I'll let you know how it comes out.

    Walt
     
  10. R Dewhurst

    R Dewhurst New Member

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    here is some dandelions.....http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-8211-dandelion.aspx
     
  11. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Clover is great for a nice mild sweet honey crop. But rember the bees in the late summer and fall, this is what stimulates the bees to keep raising bees so you have plenty of young winter bees that have a generous supply of stores to get thru winter. lavender and sage. are a couple of good fall sources. A balanced diet create an oases of bloom containing pollen and nectar from spring to fall. Pay attention to the times when the surrounding area is not providing for the needs of the girls. Planting more dandelions when your surrounded by them already helps the girls very little.
     
  12. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Plants,Sweet Anis(sp?), Borage, Catnip, Buckweat, Dutch clover, Sweet clover, Ladino clover. Shurbs, Russian Sage, Lavender,Vitex. Just to name a few that the bees work heavy here. Jack
     
  13. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Mix in some canola (rape seed) or other similar Cruciferae (like mustard) for early flowers with plenty of pollen.
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a waltB snip...
    I'm going to try some hubam clover this fall.

    tecumseh:
    I had an older beekeeper from down Brenham way tell me this make a nice honey crop which produce a strong flow that doesn't burn off quite as quickly as some of the other clovers.
     
  15. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    something that produces nectar in July and August, after the main flow but before the goldenrod.
     
  16. Beeboy

    Beeboy New Member

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    I have heard, (but never tasted) that dandelion honey is very bitter. The big beekeepers around here sell it to the places the do the honey glazed hams. It is fine for that. Sometimes if you have dandelion honey you can take it to them & they will trade you straight across for better honey, then they sell your honey to the hammers...
     
  17. DonMcJr

    DonMcJr New Member

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    I agree with the clover. I have about 2 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover mix for deer food plots. HUGE clover leaves and and flowers and the bees love it. It still is blooming and last year it bloomed in October.

    Also Buckwheat grows great and is a great green manure and it makes a dark honey. I planted it early in May and it reseeded when I plowed it and.is flowing again as I type this...
     
  18. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    It is a little darker in color than clover, vetch or alfalfa but has a more fruity taste But the taste is by no means objectionable. When judging honey people always asks what is the best tasting honey? The answer is what ever type you like. Honey taste should represent the product displayed normally the light honeys have a smooth flavor that seems to be extra sweet and no after taste. Darker Honey has more aroma and a more fruity taste, once the sweetness leaves your mouth you are left with the pleasant after taste. If honey is entered and looks dark but tastes mild you get suspicious that the honey was exposed to heat to long and darkened. The public perception of honey is it is sweet and has a pleasant taste. If the honey has a foul smell or leaves an undesirable after taste then it would recieve less marks under the catigory of flavor and aroma. I Am not saying that some people don't enjoy the these honeys but they should be marketed so the customer knows the honey they are buying. A good example is buckwheat honey, Some love it others don't.
     
  19. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Your best bet is native prairie wild flowers, they will self seed and keep going for years.

    There are regional mixes that target bees and butterflies, but won't be cheap. I would sow lightly the first year and let them spread naturally over time.

    Our meadow across the road has so many interesting flowers during the year.