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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would urge everyone to do the best they practically can with soils when planting for bees. Pollen amino acid profiles taken in various Australian species growing in diverse locations show quite variable results, I think this is probably because of the different soils. (I'm a horticulturist and am quite excited about soil). I've done experiments before and observed different species growing in different soils determine gene expression within a species. So quality and available nutrition translates to pollen quality and even nectar composition and flow. All soils are different- there is no one good fix for everything. In the US you have much better soils than the majority of Australia ( we did not have glacial activity, most of our soils are v old). None the less, most human managed soils can be improved, observe your soils. There is more life going on under the soil than on top- its the food web deeper down and worth nurturing. Weeds can tell you much about your soils condition- if you grow flat weeds you probably need calcium, and soils are tight and compacted. If you see Amaranth weed popping up you can happily grow other plants in the family. Use you bee observations skills to look at soils and plant response. Generally speaking, very few soils will not benefit from more organic matter. Observe, and mulch, mulch and mulch some more. Grow deciduous trees, buy a mulcher, recycle the kitty litter and cardboard boxes, or buy it in, just mulch. If you have the cash, get a soil test done, and use seaweed meal, and biochar too. If you buy fertilisers buy ones based on organic matter, humates and seaweeds, not chemical salts. Keep in mid that nursery bought plants will be loaded up with systemic chemicals like neonics. They have long term environmental persistance. You can largely get around it by growing from seed or cutting, or if you plant perennials, inoculate with mycorrhiza and over the years the plant will get more nutritious, and less chemical. A biologically happening soil is a our best detoxifier, especially a fungal based soil (woody matter, cellulose, lignin) less so for a bacterial based soil (compost, made form 'green' organic matter). We can't always change the world but we have more control closer to home- for the bees it may be the quality of the gift, not the quantity that can add up. Bzzzzzzz Thanks for listening
 

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All that is waaaay over my head. This is my first year as a beekeeper and I just ordered a bunch of different flower seeds to plant, hoping to grow some good stuff for the bees. I didn't even know what was meant by " cold stratification" until I looked it up after I read on the backs of some of the seed packets that they require cold stratification. And so, now I need to find out the best way to go about doing that and for how long. To think that I once had a friend that owned a nursery who I used to bow hunt with, and I never even gave a hoot about flowers then. He could have taught me a lot. Behind the barn, I have a huge pile of horse manure. I wonder if that would be good to put in my flower gardens. I didn't care for horse manure in the vegetable garden as it just seemed to sprout to many unwanted weeds.
 

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that horse manure needs aged or everything will die @Wil I hooked up with a tree service and asked for some mulch back in 2007 or so, they brought me 2 dump truck loads, by the time I got that pile down and spread out and worked in, the soil on my garden lot was lighter and spongier, I get smaller loads now . I also brought in about half a ton of sand from the bottom of a pond, which means it had a lot of broken down leaves and organic material in it, and we worked that in, in 2012. I clean ponds for a living so all the overgrown plants and dead waterlilies and dead fish, hit my compost pile and eventually the garden.
 
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that horse manure needs aged or everything will die @Wil I hooked up with a tree service and asked for some mulch back in 2007 or so, they brought me 2 dump truck loads, by the time I got that pile down and spread out and worked in, the soil on my garden lot was lighter and spongier, I get smaller loads now . I also brought in about half a ton of sand from the bottom of a pond, which means it had a lot of broken down leaves and organic material in it, and we worked that in, in 2012. I clean ponds for a living so all the overgrown plants and dead waterlilies and dead fish, hit my compost pile and eventually the garden.
You have the perfect fertilizer coming from the ponds. I'd sure like to dredge my pond and get all the good stuff that would come from it. I'll have to dig deep into my horse manure to get to the ten-year-old aged stuff.
 

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just flip the pile off to a new one, and keep track of how old they are. Ponds are pretty close to perfect
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes horse poo is excellent. It doesnt have the high nutrient levels that chook poo has but tbe amount of organic matter it adds us awesome esp as you can often get bulk fir cheap or free. I tend to avoid getting in the season when all the grasses are seeding for the above mentioned weed seed reason mid spring when they've likely polished off last years hay and are now grazing grass in its vegetative stage. I once got a load from race stables and the worms didnt come back for 6 months the horses were doped up with so many chemicals. Yep horseshit is the bomb
 

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Rabbit manure is nice too and requires less composting to be safe. Rabbit urine on the other hand, in woodchip bedding material, must be composted
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You have the perfect fertilizer coming from the ponds. I'd sure like to dredge my pond and get all the good stuff that would come from it. I'll have to dig deep into my horse manure to get to the ten-year-old aged stuff.
Yes, aquatic systems are some of if not the most productive biomass produces in nature. I have a few smaller ponds, no more than 10m2 that I have for various reasons but also to harvest nutrient rich water, which I grow lettuce and summer veg with, and plant biomass for fertiliser and chook feed. Duckweed ( azolla) fixes atmospheric nitrogen and gets phosphorus from the fish poo. Chooks can't get enough of it, and although it's a small plant, it just keeps going all through the warmer months. I like it so much I over winter it in a tub in my greenhouse, than stock up certain ponds in summer (not near a waterway).In the duckweed pond there is always a sufficient for bees to land on for summer drinking water (loaded up with good bacteria for bee microbiomes). Bottom of pond stuff is anaerobic; there are many 'good' facultative anaerobes like sulfating bacteria and lactobacillus. That said, pond sludge I would mix with another source of organic matter in compost or surface mulch etc to get balance with aerobic bacteria. Most of the good soils bacterium species are aerobic.But yes, great stuff Wil.
 

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Yes, aquatic systems are some of if not the most productive biomass produces in nature. I have a few smaller ponds, no more than 10m2 that I have for various reasons but also to harvest nutrient rich water, which I grow lettuce and summer veg with, and plant biomass for fertiliser and chook feed. Duckweed ( azolla) fixes atmospheric nitrogen and gets phosphorus from the fish poo. Chooks can't get enough of it, and although it's a small plant, it just keeps going all through the warmer months. I like it so much I over winter it in a tub in my greenhouse, than stock up certain ponds in summer (not near a waterway).In the duckweed pond there is always a sufficient for bees to land on for summer drinking water (loaded up with good bacteria for bee microbiomes). Bottom of pond stuff is anaerobic; there are many 'good' facultative anaerobes like sulfating bacteria and lactobacillus. That said, pond sludge I would mix with another source of organic matter in compost or surface mulch etc to get balance with aerobic bacteria. Most of the good soils bacterium species are aerobic.But yes, great stuff Wil.
That is pretty interesting. Plus, one thing I learned was that a Chook is a chicken or Hen in Australian. I had to look it up. I even raise Chickens, have for a number of years but never heard the name Chooks. I can't wait until I ask the wife if she fed the Chooks yet.
Now I am thinking of ways to lower a bucket from my rowboat and scoop up some good stuff from the bottom of my pond. I know there is a lot of silt in it because when I went scuba diving, I had zero underwater visibility and stuck my arm through a foot of the stuff just groping around. Those days are gone however since back surgery about 4 years ago and some of my scuba equipment is sold off but at least I had already put some cool fish structures in pace.
Ray
 

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I just got done throwing all the duckweed out of my aquarium in the trash. Next time it pops up I might put it in the chicken waterer.
I can't have it in the ponds I raise customer plants in.
 
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