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Suggestion for a bee plant thread.
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It is of course illegal to sow Himalayan Balsam outside your garden (in the UK

I am amazed that it is even permitted in gardens.
It cannot be said too often how invasive Himalayan Balsam is! and how devastating it would be for native flora if even one person was to unknowingly propagate it.


Poppies are a great one, and so easy to collect the seed from. A lot self-seed here but I sow my saved seed too, which this year I have still to do.

Kim
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

B kind wrote:
Quote:
It is of course illegal to sow Himalayan Balsam outside your garden (in the UK

I am amazed that it is even permitted in gardens.
It cannot be said too often how invasive Himalayan Balsam is! and how devastating it would be for native flora if even one person was to unknowingly propagate it.


I have to disagree.

I have monitored a section of riverbank near my home, which has had HB growing on it for at least 10 years. During that time, it has also supported numerous other species, most of which flower before the HB has caught up with them. A notable exception is Purple Loosestrife, which flowers concurrently with HB. There has been no visible sign during the years I have been watching that HB has had any negative impact on native species. In fact, it appears to have been kept under control by other species and seems to have reached a natural balance with them.

Considering that it flowers from August right through into November some years and provides valuable nectar and pollen for honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, hoverflies and myriad other insects at a time when there is very little else in flower, I think HB should be declared naturalised and positively encouraged in places where is naturally thrives.

Somewhere I have a research paper that supports my view. If I can find it, I will post a note.
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here:

http://www.morrison-prowse.com/documents/alicia_prowse_phd.pdf
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know, it is not in my area and I have no experience of this plant. However after first reading about the plant on this forum I read this...

Quote:
The following provides a summary of the key impacts of the species:

Excludes native species.
Leaves river banks exposed to erosion in winter.
Subsequent potential sedimentation impact on fish spawning areas.
Attracts pollinating insects away from native species.
Increased risk of flooding due to siltation of water courses and bank instability.
Main transmission route via water courses.


on this link. http://invasivespeciesireland.com/toolkit/invasive-plant-management/terrestrial-plants/himalayan-balsam/

I am aware that some invasive species are not as bad as they are made out to be, but I still would not want to knowingly encourage its spread, it still seems to be uncommon in Ireland.

Kim
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madasafish
Silver Bee


Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 880
Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himalayan Balsam has spread all along the riverbank near us - a distance of two miles long and about 10-25 meters deep. The river bank has not eroded in the thirty years I have lived here - but I guess if I wait another thirty it might:-)

It is also along canal banks, on the moorlands etc. and even starting to appear on the roadside of our 5 year old bypass...
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CharlieBnoobee
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Location: Virginia,USA; S. Appalachians;USDA zn. 6a

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:47 am    Post subject: H. Balsam tug-o-war Reply with quote

Quote:
It is of course illegal to sow Himalayan Balsam outside your garden (in the UK) so any suggestion I might do so is to be deprecated.


Madassafish;

Shame on you for even entertaining such rebellious thoughts, you outlaw you! There, I guess I properly deprecated you.

Actually I think we've got a little patch of it in a dampish spot that I could propagate into a great big patch. Hmm.

Cowboy Sowers of the World Unite! HOO-AH!
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jimmyjjohn
New Bee


Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Location: Arizona

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a book which I found during a random dive into a bookshop to avoid the rain in Chepstow last year. will post back when I have found it. - Gives information for each plant on how good they are for Apis Melifera, bumblebees and solitary bees. I am going to re-read it soon with a view to some guerilla planting.
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CharlieBnoobee
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Location: Virginia,USA; S. Appalachians;USDA zn. 6a

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kim: I'd like to briefly bump the thread direction back to the 'what, when, how, and where to plant and—perhaps most important— the 'why' issue:

CharlieBnoobee wrote:
Kim, your comment:
Quote:
I have a thought about wild versus cultivated bee environments..... Perhaps if we would like to see wild or feral bee colonies established then leaving nature to nature is well and good, and there is a place for that.

However human consumption of honey has evolved in parallel with human agriculture, Perhaps for a reliable honey harvest then cultivating plants for our mutual benefit will give a greater honey yield? A cultivated variety of brassica (broccoli/ cauliflower..) will give a greater yield than a wild cultivar, as is the case with most fruits, vegetables and grains. A cow will easily have milk for her calf but to give milk to a family too she requires a little more nutrition.


I really resonate with this. It's a perfect expression, or manifestation, of what I call "right stewardship". But, as I somewhat obliquely indicated to Barbara, that subject is so deep and wide (inseparable as it is with one's belief system) that any decent discussion of it would have to go over to the Far Side. If you (or anyone else, of course,) would like to do that, just let me know.

Quote:
I think there are areas of wild uncultivated land that do provide rich forage for bees, Plenty to supply excess honey, and Barbara may be in such an area. I see the relationship in bees developing their habitat and I believe that a plant that grows in a place is giving that soil exactly what it needs, compared to a plant which is consciously planted. Many wild plants in Western Europe have evolved with humans too to provide food, medicine. materials.


Again, right stewardship; and your observation about current practices in agriculture and husbandry exemplify equally well, not non-stewardship, but rather Wrong stewardship, even Wicked stewardship.


Charlie


Having answered for myself the 'why' question, I'm about to embark on a very informal program of experimentation which, if successful, will provide some answers to the question I put a bit further up in this thread; namely, how do we plant (with some degree of efficiency, that is) areas on the order of 1/2 acre or so, up to a couple of hectares—at most— without having to turn to mechanized ag. equipment. I'm hoping to find local (and sympathetic!) expertise among neighbors, friends and county officials to fill in some of the many and large information holes still left gaping even after much internet searching. Trial-and-Error is slow and tedious, but, if we're patient, thoughtful and observant, not only the final but also the most reliable way to learn.

This will particularly be the case when it comes to species that are unfamiliar to folks around here. Like Phacelia, and Anise hyssop and Blue weed, aka Vipers' Bugloss (Echium vulgare). If anyone reading this post has any experience at all with these three plants, please respond.

Seeds are on the way, and I'm excited!
Charlie


Last edited by CharlieBnoobee on Fri May 23, 2014 10:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Charlie! Every site is different and will have a specific ideal biodiversity. Even within a small garden there are micro climates and differences in soil/drainage/wet/dry.

Here we have managed large areas by....

1) Woodland, and woodland edge is ideal for planting bee-loving trees and shrubs.
2) Grazing, Cows create wonderful fields of flowers, dandelions in spring, clover in summer the main ones here.
3)Annual mowing. If land is not grazed or mowed here it will revert to woodland with the slow and natural progression of species. So we cut some areas once a year in autumn, This encourages perennials (and many perennials are great for bees).

I have grown Phacelia for many years but always wherever I have bare soil (usually in the veg. patch rotation). I have not seen it come up where there is no bare soil. To get bare soil without using manual labour or machinery.... livestock, best is pigs, If they have a large area they will just disturb the ground here and there, fencing can be used to move them from one small paddock to another which they will thoroughly turn over. Creating small paddocks and moving them still requires resources and management (time). The areas cleared by pigs then can be planted with phacelia or other seeds.... However, I don't like to see bare soil, The earth likes to be covered. Clearing pockets for growing edible crops sits well with me but clearing ground just to grow annual flowers, even for the bees, does not. The hens often clear little areas in our garden where I then plant up, covering with sticks to stop the hens scratching up again.

I have planted seeds of Anise hyssop and Vipers' Bugloss (Echium vulgare), they are both at the 2cm little seedling stage so I cannot report how robust they are. The Aster however can easily compete with most of our competitive native plants (weeds) and thrive with neglect, I am on the look out for strong bee plants, anything that needs fussing over just won't make it in our garden!

I don't think this answered your question! Maybe someone else has thoughts to share?

Kim
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CharlieBnoobee
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Location: Virginia,USA; S. Appalachians;USDA zn. 6a

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 12:10 pm    Post subject: Experimenting with seed bed prep. Reply with quote

You noted, Kim: "I have grown Phacelia for many years but always wherever I have bare soil (usually in the veg. patch rotation). ... "The areas cleared by pigs then can be planted with phacelia or other seeds." ... "However, I don't like to see bare soil, The earth likes to be covered. Clearing pockets for growing edible crops sits well with me but clearing ground just to grow annual flowers, even for the bees, does not."

I couldn't agree more, so: it seems the issue here then is how to arrive at a method of no/minimum tillage seed bed preparation without resorting to what's available in machinery on the scale of commercial ag. operations. In my county (Washington Co., VA), for example, there's a tractor dealership that rents out a nifty no-till seed drill. The only catch is that the minimum tractor requirement is 55 horse power 4-wheel-drive or 65 hp 2 wheel- drive. That's a decent sized tractor. And I really wasn't thinking about doing a 7 ft. wide swath in a single pass either!

No, I'm thinking more along the lines of a 4 ft. wide pass using nothing more than a riding mower for doing most of the work. I can't find anything on the internet apart from gear designed to be pulled by 4-wheeler ATVs for prepping wildlife forage plots.

It looks like if we want something that can be inexpensively put together for the conversion of fallow pasture land, then we will have to figure out for ourselves how to do that. Along these lines here's where my experimentation is going:

1st. Apply herbicide (glyphosate aka Roundup) to the standing pasture grasses.

2nd. About a week later closely mow the dead grass; then, using modified blades in the mowing deck, scarify/scuff/rip/chop up/ the sod layer, mixing in at the same time some of the underlying soil. This is the "false" seed bed.

3rd. Wait for the freshly exposed grass and weed seed to sprout and get some growth.

4th. Repeat steps 1. and 2. to create the "true" seed bed.

5th. Sow the desired forage seed, cover, and wait for rain.

The timing of all this will vary according to local climate and species being sown.

Initially, Step 1. can be done with a backpack type sprayer—no experimenting needed here.
For working out Step 2., I'll first use an old push mower to come up with a blade-as-sod chopper modification, and to find out how much stress it puts on the mower. Then I'll modify the riding mower's blades accordingly.
Step 4. can be done with an ordinary hand-cranked broadcast seeder and some sort of drag chain arrangement. Again, not much experimentation needed here.
Using this type of tooling on a small area of a few sq. rods should establish some degree of POC (Proof-of-Concept) or at least point to a needed course correction. If I get a positive POC this year, then I can in subsequent seasons get to work on designs for a mower towed seed drill and towed herbicide applicator.
Stay tuned.

Charlie
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1568
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charlie I understand and sympathise with the problem, but I really don't like the first stage of your proposed process.
Can't you start by mowing, then covering the area with cardboard and mulching on top with grass cuttings from the next strip or even covering it with a an old tarpaulin and move the tarp to the next strip after the undergrowth has died back. I know it will take time to do a large area but we really don't want to be putting any more money into the pockets of Monsanto or their chemicals into the ground.
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CharlieBnoobee
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Location: Virginia,USA; S. Appalachians;USDA zn. 6a

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara wrote:

Can't you start by mowing, then covering the area with cardboard and mulching on top with grass cuttings from the next strip or even covering it with a an old tarpaulin and move the tarp to the next strip after the undergrowth has died back. I know it will take time to do a large area but...


Thanks for the input Barbara. For areas on the order of a sq. rod (272.25 sq. ft) or so, that would work—slowly and ever so tediously—but I think you would agree that for areas of one or two acres (160 sq. rod /acre) your suggestion would be a hard sell to even the most ferociously ardent would-be forage planter. I'm looking for ways and means that will be a relatively easy sell to anyone with some land available—not necessarily their own—to put into bee forage.

Barbara wrote:
we really don't want to be putting any more money into the pockets of Monsanto or their chemicals into the ground.


Taking this statement at strictly face value which, as I understand it, means: we ought not, on principle, aid and abet any entity at enmity with our values and beliefs.
As a general principle to be generally adhered to, I agree. In this particular case adherence poses no complications at all; we just use a glyphosate manufactured by a much smaller company than Monsanto et al and (therefore) most likely isn't all braided together with the fascist big ag./govt. complex.

Reading between the lines of your entire comment however, I gather that you might also be objecting to the use of herbicides in general and on principle. Reading between lines can more often foul up good communication rather than help it, so please let me know. In any event you've opened a subject (as is your wont Wink) that we could hold forth on—and on and on—for pages. But more appropriately as a new topic in a different section, don't you think?
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CharlieBnoobee
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Location: Virginia,USA; S. Appalachians;USDA zn. 6a

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:02 pm    Post subject: Forage sowing experiment Reply with quote

I'm continuing this topic over in the Bright Ideas and Experiments section in case anyone's interest's interested.

http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16924

Charlie
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