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Top forage plants for a bee garden
The secret to a happy, healthy garden
by Robin Williams
One of the best ways to ensure your garden is good for bees is to avoid chemical gardening. Most conventional gardeners these days use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on their vegetable plots.
They don't need to as they can just buy 'weed and feed' compost or seed for their garden from a nursery. And, as far as they are concerned, weeds are no big deal.
They spray their vegies, fruit trees and ornamental shrubs with a little weedkiller.
The trouble is, the weedkiller is also toxic to most bees.
Bees are just as prone to pesticide poisoning as people.
Many pesticides pollute the bees' natural food supply. Then the pollen gets sucked into their bodies and taken back to the hive in the way that an apple or melon enters our body and is converted into energy.
Many people don't realize the extent to which pesticides have ruined bee life in Britain.
The average bee now produces just one egg-sized cluster of honey a day, compared to ten during the 1940s.
And the mass scale use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on our garden plants has played a major role in this, as it does with people.
But even natural gardeners can reduce their use of poisons. And bees can live with natural, non-chemical gardens.
The following is a guide to which plants to grow in your garden to provide the best food for bees. I recommend you grow at least five of the best ones.
Aphids (or 'plant lice') are annoying plants, like a bad itch or hair which will not go away. You see aphids on your vegies, on your fruit trees, in your ornamental shrubs and even on your lawns.
They have a short life and multiply very rapidly. Aphids have many different species in the UK and it is easy to mistake one species for another and spray different chemicals to control it.
You should try to keep aphids to a minimum by choosing less ornamental, less attractive plants. Plants such as peas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, kales and lettuce can be planted in the beds, as can the fruiting shrubs such as apple, pear and plum.
Use a sharp pruning knife to cut the aphids off or, if they are not on the leaves, get a bottle of water, spray it on them and let them drop off. But aphids can be very destructive so you should remove them as soon as you see them, even if it is a day or so before they start to show.
The following are some of the most pest-prone plants:
• Cucurbits (cucumbers and melons)
• Eucalypts (gum trees)
• Wine grapes
All the plants you grow from seed will suffer from some type of problem. You might start out with healthy plants which then start to go green and wilt, fall over, or they might look healthy and then suddenly turn completely white or yellow. It might look like a disease or some type of insect damage, but in many cases it is just that your seed has gone dormant and needs to be planted.
But the real problem comes from birds such as the asparagus sparrow, which will pick the developing sprouts off your plants. Other birds will devour the seeds and then come back to nibble the tops of the plants. Asparagus is pretty easily grown from seed, and I always buy seed on the Internet (see Resources).
But this does make it difficult to grow unless you have a lot of land. And with most birds such as the asparagus sparrow and pigeons and starlings, the seeds are often scattered by them.
A solution to this is to grow your plants on the ground and then when they have started to grow into 2 or 3 cm (1 in) high plants and are ready for harvesting, plant them up in a raised bed.
These are fairly easy to grow and have few pest problems. You can also buy them as young seedlings. But it is easy to grow your own asparagus from seed.
To start to grow your own seeds, first wash the asparagus. Some people remove the soil, but I've never tried this. Wash the roots, then wrap the root system in a thin layer of newspaper and place in a glass of water.
After a week, the roots will have grown in the newspaper and will be ready to plant. When they start to grow to about 20 cm (8 in) high, cut them back and plant them up in a raised bed. I usually just scatter the soil over the bed so that the roots grow straight down and don't get stressed.
To prevent birds eating the seedlings you can either cover the seedlings with a netting or place a plastic dome over the bed (see Resources).
A colheita de aspargos o mais rápido possível após o plantio é o melhor. A colheita pode ser feita entre maio e setembro, dependendo de onde você mora.
O melhor método é simplesmente colher as hastes inferiores assim que chegarem a cerca de 20 cm (8 polegadas) de altura. As primeiras colheitas serão muito boas, mas a qualidade diminui rapidamente depois disso, então tente escolher quando estiver no seu jardim a cada semana ou duas, colhendo as hastes inferiores, mas mantendo as mais altas.
Você também pode cortar as lanças quando elas atingirem cerca de 5 cm de altura ou quando atingem o comprimento desejado para a sua receita. Para obter esse comprimento, comece com as lanças com 10 cm de comprimento e corte -as até chegarem ao comprimento desejado.
As lanças podem ser empurradas ou descascadas. Para empalidecer, coloque -os em uma panela de água com algumas colheres de sopa de sal ou use 1 colher de sopa de sal para cada 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 xícaras) de água. Leve a água para ferver e cozinhe as lanças por 1 minuto. Escorra e refresque em água fria. Você também pode descascar as lanças e ferver em água salgada por 3 minutos.
** DICA: ** Se você usar um fogão elétrico ou a gás, use -o na configuração mais alta.
Cuidado para não se cortar com uma faca. Se o fizer, lembre -se de absorver o corte imediatamente em água fria com uma pitada de sal para reduzir o risco de infecção.
** Outras variedades **
** Primavera gigante (** _ ** Brassica Campestris Fructu ** _ **) **
Na primavera, você pode encontrar essa variedade no mercado dos agricultores. Possui grandes cangentes de velejador roxo e grandes com folhas grandes em forma de coração. O sabor é semelhante ao repolho do inverno, mas a textura é um pouco mais densa. Colheita entre maio e agosto.
** Senhoras ** ** Blight ** ** (** _ ** Brassica Oleracea Malosa ** _ **) **
Também é chamado de "couve da senhora" ou "couve pequena". Isso é