Bees And Your Garden Crops

Bees And Your Garden Crops

It is time to continue with my short little series of attracting bees to our gardens whether we grow flowers, edible crops or both.  Today we will cover the edible variety of plants. Maybe you hadn’t thought about fruits and vegetable attracting bees. Many of them do get a little blossom on them that eventually becomes the food we are growing. The flowers can have nectar, pollen or both and some even need to be pollinated by the bee in order to produce.

bees on cherry blossoms

Sun loving plants do the best to attract bees. Areas that get close to 5 to 6 hours are the best. That doesn’t mean that you will never see a bee visit a plant that is in the shade.  They are just more likely to go for those in the sun.

Indiana Corn Postcard
Indiana Corn Postcard by Mamajo3304 at zazzle.com

Agricultural plants for bees in the garden:

  •  Strawberries bloom in May and June giving each bee both pollen and nectar
  • Sweet Corn blooms in June and July providing pollen for the bees
  • Cucumbers (that can be made into pickles) bloom from June through August giving nectar and pollen for a bee to feed on
  • Pumpkins produce blooms from July to the first frost and have both nectar and pollen
  • Melons bloom from June to the first frost and also have nectar and pollen for bees
  • Watermelons give a bee nectar and pollen during June and July
  • Herbs are really great to have and each type provides nectar during their blooming season

Strawberries, 'sparkle' Variety

Strawberries in bloom
Wally Eberhart Photo
at Allposters.com

We do not cultivate these plants but dandelions and clovers are especially loved by bees. They do not seem to care that us humans consider these plants both invasive and a weed. They like the nectar and pollen that are produced by them.

Pesticides and Insecticides Are Harmful To Bees

When it comes to planting plants in our gardens and taking care of our lawns, we often are encouraged to use pesticides to keep down the growth of weeds and to get rid of unwanted insects. It really is not a good idea. So many cancer causing agents have been linked to the ingredients used in pesticides and insecticides that we should not do it for our own health.  When it comes to bees they are really bad. The product may kill the bees and often times kills plants that they feed on. Look for natural products that can do the job without those nasty ingredients that are on the shelves today.

Our gardens in Indiana can produce luscious foods for us to eat and lovely flowers for us to enjoy while at the same time encouraging bees to survive and thrive in our areas. It is really important to keep a balance in the overall eco systems that are present in our living spaces and bees are an important part of that.

One last thought before I conclude my little series on bees in the garden. Not all bees produce honey but those that do provide a great food source for us to enjoy. Honey is a very healthy choice to have in our diets. Purchasing honey that has been produced locally is the best choice when choosing honey at a grocery store, the farmers market or wherever you make your honey purchases. I have to tell you that the best honey that I have ever tasted (and I buy exclusively now) is made just 5 miles from where I live. Try some local honey, you will not be disappointed!

Bees Should Be Encouraged To Thrive

Bees Should Be Encouraged To Thrive

A Bee Does More Than Sting

You might not have given this much thought but it really is something to consider. Have you made your garden an inviting place for bees to come? You may be thinking, “What? I don’t want to get stung by a bee nor do I want my kids to be stung. No bees in my garden!” It is time to change your thinking if you feel that way. Bees are a necessity to every garden! Those plants rarely pollinate themselves, you know. When a bee travels from blossom to blossom it will carry the pollen on it’s feet and then it transfers to the next plant. That is a good thing! If they happen to be honey bees, then some hive is going to produce some delicious honey!

bees in garden

 

So, what plants do we have in Indiana that will create a bee garden? There are so many wonderful trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits and vegetables that bees love to come dine on. The trick is to have something in bloom during the entire growing season. You want those bees to keep coming back and to tell their friends to come, too. Providing plants that offer nectar and pollen gives each bee a balanced diet.

Vintage Bees and Daisy Post Card
Vintage Bee and Daisy Post Card by knottysailor at zazzle

 

Indiana Trees Good For Bees:

  • Apple trees provide both nectar and pollen and bloom from April to May
  • Pear trees provide nectar and bloom from April to May
  • Elm, Maple, Redbud and Oak trees provide pollen and nectar blooming in March and April
  • Walnut trees provide pollen and bloom in April and May
  • Tulip Poplar trees provide nectar and pollen blooming in May and June

Indiana Shrubs And Brambles That Every Bee Will Like:

  • Boxwood shrubs bloom in March and April and give the bees nectar
  • Blackberry and raspberry plants bloom in May and June providing both nectar and pollen
  • Butterfly Bush blooms July to September and gives them nectar to eat
  • Cotoneaster produces nectar and pollen in May and June
  • Roses produce pollen from June through September
  • Viburnum has nectar in May and June
Viburnum Post Card
Viburnum Post Card by florianesser at Zazzle.com

 

As I sit here writing this, I realize that I haven’t even scratched the surface on the plants that grow here in Indiana that can be a part of a bee garden. The longest list comes from the flowers, fruits and crops that also attract bees. So, I think I will make them separate posts so that this does not get too long.

Having any of the trees, shrubs and brambles in the above list as a part of your overall landscaping plan around your home is going to attract those much wanted little bees and have them buzzing around with delight.