PROJECT: Save the Bees is here!
I think most of the gardener's out there has heard about the plight of the honeybee and whisperings of colony collapse. In the winter of 2006, beekeepers, scientists and farmers worldwide first began to notice that entire colonies of honeybees were vanishing. Several causes were researched for this devastating process. It is thought to be due to multiple factors, with a virus as the main culprit. However, commercial pesticides and bees feeding on only one food source has also been blamed.
If colony collapse continues, and honeybee colonies around the world continue to be wiped out, just think of how devastating this will be to our food supply. Here are some honeybee facts:
- honeybees pollinate 1/3 of food production
- this equals about $15 billion worth of food per year
- 3/4 of all plants rely on pollination
- there are over 90 crops that bees pollinate
- if the world's bee populations continue to decline at current rates, the honeybee will be extinct in 2035
Silence of the Bees is an amazing documentary that was aired in October 2007 on OPB Nature. One of the most disturbing segments of this documentary was near the end when they talked of the consequences of declining bee populations. They showed a village in China where the native bee population had been wiped out years ago by pesticides. This area grows pears as a crop. Today, all of these pear trees are pollinated by hand because they have lost their bee friends. You can click the above link to watch the entire show (50 minutes).
I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or just my imagination, but I've noticed less and less bees in my garden. As a home vegetable gardener, I know the importance of keeping the bees happy and having them return to your garden. I thought it would be nice to start a little project to save the local bee populations within your own communities.
My idea is simple. I bought a packet of bee friendly flowers at the store. It has a ton of seeds in it...way more than I would ever need. I'd like to offer my bee friendly flower seeds to fellow gardeners in the hope that they'll either plant it in their own gardens to encourage the bees in their community and/or share them with more people. It would be cool if each of you pay it forward by doing the same, but not required.
Hopefully by doing just a little, we can help save the bees! You don't have to be a vegetable gardener to enjoy the bee friendly flowers. You can also plant these flowers in pots on your deck or balcony. If you plant them, they (bees) will come!!
To Participate in PROJECT: Save the Bees:
If you'd like to participate in your own bee friendly flower giveaway, post an announcement on your blog about the project and what you are giving away and/or your rules. Commit to the following:
1) Purchase a seed packet of bee friendly flowers and figure out how many people you'd like to share with
2) Announce the project on your blog/website and offer the seeds to others (starting Sunday, Feb 6th)
3) Link your post back to this post
4) Mail your seeds to your people
5) Update your original post with a list of places you mailed your seeds
If you need ideas of bee friendly flowers, see the links below.
Creating Buzz, Audubon Magazine
Buzzworthy Plants That Attract Bees, The Daily Green
The articles above also have great ideas on how to keep the bees happy in your garden! I have found that bees in my garden love lavender, lilac, marigolds and cosmos. In fact, I planted cosmos in my raised beds last year (next to pollinating dependent veggies). This year I'll save room and plant them in pots next to these veggies!
To Win My Seeds:
There's nothing to it really, just be one of the first 6 comments to this post. Be sure to include the following information:
1) Post one comment answering the following question: What flowers do you notice that make bees happy?
2) Post a followup comment with your email address (I will delete this second entry to keep your privacy)
I will only mail seeds within the USA (sorry international visitors, international rules make it difficult to share).
I am offering a small sample of each of the following seeds:
1) Bee's Friend (2011 Seed Savers Exchange) - Annual
- subtle lavender-blue flowers with curved spikes; beautiful when sown in drifts
- self seeding annual; grows to 12-24" tall; hardy to zone 0
- sowing: direct sow after the last frost; isn't fussy about soil type (but can't grow in shade and does require good drainage & moist soil); cover with 1/8 inch of soil
- thinning: thin to about 4-12 inches apart
- location: full sun
- germination: 7-12 days
- German flower called "bienenfreund" that literally translates to "bee's friend"
- huge attractant for bees of all kinds in the garden
- easy to grow anywhere, from Alaska to the South
2) Dwarf Sensation Mixed Cosmos (2010 Ed Hume Seeds) - Annual
- very easy to grow from seed and quick to flower
- long growing season in shades of carmine, pink, pink blush and white
- grows only 2 feet tall; no staking needed
- sowing: broadcast seeds into desired planting spot after all danger of frost has passed or start indoors in individual posts 3-4 weeks before the last frost; cover seeds with 1/8 inch of soil
- thinning: when seedlings are 2 inches tall, thin to 12 inches apart; you can carefully replant thinned plants
- location: row in full sun or part sun and shade in well drained soil
- germination: 7-10 days at 70 degrees
Good luck and if you are able to, I would love to see you link up! I think this is a fairly easy and fun way to SAVE THE BEES!!! Add your link below!