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Sequentially Blooming Plants for Bee Support?

 
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Howdy All,

I don't keep bees(don't have a hive) on my urban property, because my lots are very close to two cell towers, and I and my pets(dogs/cat) have become Electro-magnetally Hypersensitive.

I feel it would be unethical to add more animals to the mix, am trying to relocate when I can.

And I noticed bee populations here were very low when I started my garden/ h├╝gelkultur food forest, even though the yard had a lot of clover.....(the cell phone towers were here already)

Since doing this H├╝gelkultur project my view has changed a little bit, regarding bees.

After they started showing up in my garden in droves.

In particular I noticed that really like kale flowers, mustard flowers, and Russian sage, and when these are in bloom I get a lot of bee visitors.

I'm in Tulsa, OK Zone 6B

What I've noticed is if I plant kale, mustard, spinach, and cilantro in the VERY LATE fall, some of the plants germinate in the fall and remain very small over the winter (Kale and spinach).

The Cilantro and Mustard tend to just overwinter nd sprout in the spring, but it's advantageous to put them al out in the fall because the cilantro and the Mustard tend to (not sure of the words for it, try to go to seed) too early if I forget in the early spring and plant them too late.

If they overwinter they sprout at their earliest opportunity and I get the produce and a better seed crop TOO.

Anyhow, I forgot to collect my kale seeds last season, I piled the dried up plants in a few places in the garden, then the seeds dropped off and then I tossed the skeletons on my waste berm.

LOL.

And I didn't plant anything LATE last fall(except spinach) bees seem a bit aloof to spinach but I love it and it's the only way I get any(goes from cold to super hot all of a sudden here in the spring)

But got a few volunteers of kale this year and the bees are now pollinating those, and I have big fat pods developing for replanting  this late fall.

What I do with Kale is I toss it everywhere like grass seed(now that I have enough seed to do it that way.)


But here's a trick others might find real handy:

In the Mexican aisle of most grocery stores, and at Asian and international markets, I buy seeds AS SPICE.(I'll do another thread just on that soon probably)

Mustard seeds, coriander seeds(cilantro) and a type of Asian sweet basil seed are all sold as spices(the basil is usedin a fruit drink in Vietnam/Thailand as a spice) It's not italian sweet basil, but it's sweet basil of another variety and has wonderful aroma and lavor, and it grows fine in zone 6B.....So Instead of paying $1.95 for a seed pack at the nurdery that might have 150 seeds in it, I pay $1.99 as "spice and get 10,000 seeds.

LOL.

And instead of hoeing a row on my berm and carefully planting them, I just toss it all on top like grass seed.

(Bigger seeds I sometimes dig up some dirt, then toss that on top....)

Back to the topic though:

Ethics: I like seeing bees come around, and though I don't want to subject them to radiation from cell towers, it may help them adapt to it. I never see them drop dead in my garden, just wouldn't locate a hive here.

I think that's a fair deal, because wherever they are coming from, wherever their hive is at, my garden had the best food/pollen in the neighborhood.

If they come and go they get food and they may get time to adapt to the toxic RF, as long as wherever their hive is at it's less EMF....

But the question is this:

Kale and Mustard bloom around here from around april-JUne

Russian Sage blooms from late JUly through August or September.

What other plants can I put in that bloom earlier than Kale, and between kale and Russian sage, and late in the fall?


A big list of zone 6B BEE plants would be nice to have.

Especially perennials, but based on dates they bloom So I can make sure there is always pollen for them to gather throughout the non-winter season.

I want them to have food they prefer no matter what month it is when they visit.

They showed up early this year for Henbit, but I had no "Bridge Food" between henbit and Kale....

I'm missing a bridge between kale and Russian sage....





 
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From the Xerces Society: https://xerces.org/publications/plant-lists/pollinator-plants-southern-plains-region
 
gardener & hugelmaster
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Cilantro is often included in pollinator seed mixes. Have never noticed them on spinach. I don't think spinach produces nectar. Buckwheat grows fast. Start to finish in about 6 weeks. I plant it throughout the season & try to keep some in bloom at all times. It won't survive winter but cilantro tolerates cold much better. Chickens & bees both like buckwheat. Makes good pancakes too. Comfrey is a good plant for hugels & for bees. Borage, bee balm, & clovers are other bee favorites. Clover is good for hugels too. I've read that blue is bees favorite color so if there are blue flowers that do well in your area I'd suggest trying some of those. The bees may or may not be able use it but it might help attract them. Flowers in general are good for attracting bees. So are fruit trees, sourwood, goldenrod, & many kinds of native wild flowers & plants. Peach honey is amazingly tasty!!!

Check out your local beekeeper association website. They usually have a list of bee plants recommended for their local area.

I've read mixed results from scientific studies concerning bees & EMI/RFI & ELF waves. I'm not sure anything definite has been determined yet but my personal & professional opinion is that they're not good for any of us.  
 
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I looked up the xeces regional list and I'd like to add a few more wildflowers. I am in zone 6b in MO so presumably similar species are also present in Tulsa.

March:  violet/ dead nettle/ dandelion/ henbit
April: yellow rocket/ buttercup/ strawberry/ gooseberry/ autumn olive / bokchoy
May: wild strawberry/ raspberry/ blackberry/ wild rose/ clover/ ox eyed daisy/ penstemon/ cilantro / daikon radish/ buckwheat

I don't have kale, but I like growing bok choy. I sow the seeds in early March, seeds germinated in a few days and seedlings are cold hardy.  one month later they are already blooming. Sow a batch of seeds every week then you will have a long blooming time.





 
Simon Torsten
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Thanks for the replies.

Some of these plants/seeds are hard to find in Tulsa.

 
Simon Torsten
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The other thing is there's really been bad mixes.

If we can trade seeds and plants easier we will get where we need to get fast.


I've tried to grow artechokes. I can't buy Jerusalem artechokes.

Or air potatoes.

Or Thai Basil.


Some of it will  grow noth and south of me.

Some of it ALMOST GROWS HERE to seed.

We keep trading these seeds.....and cuttings and plants....
 
master steward
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What I've noticed is if I plant kale, mustard, spinach, and cilantro in the VERY LATE fall, some of the plants germinate in the fall and remain very small over the winter (Kale and spinach).



I have always considered Kale and spinach fall plants.  I have never had either go to seed or flower.

Since your title suggests you are looking for things that flower, have you considered the many edible flowers?

This topic might be of interest:

https://permies.com/t/154443/flowers-grow
 
pollinator
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As far as I am aware - and I have looked into it - there is no credible evidence that bees are harmed in anyway by cell towers or other electromagnetic interference. There was one "paper" published a few years ago that got a lot of social media attention, but that involved a phone handset being placed inside a small number of colonies. Handsets generate MUCH stronger EM over short distances (centimeters) than they get from cell towers that are further away (meters). The inverse square law kicks in in a big way. As for the paper itself, it was essentially a school science project - small sample size, inadequate control of variables etc... There is so much natural variation in honey bee colonies due to genetic and environmental factors that huge - and I mean really huge - numbers of colonies are needed to draw reasonable conclusions.

On the question of bee forage - it is a great idea to consider nectar flows. These are highly variable by region however, so there is not going to be a single set of recommended plants.

Personally, I have been planting sainfoin - a long flowering, nitrogen fixing fodder crop that makes masses of nectar through the summer months.
 
pollinator
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We tend to succession plant mustard's throughout the summer just for the bees.  Their tall flowering stalks seem to be a favorite of our bees and then feed the plants to the hogs when the flowers are spent.
We also succession plant many varieties of sunflowers, they are only partly for the bees as we love the beauty and also put up the seeds for our chickens and us.
I have dozens of very (very) large comfrey plants that flower right through till frost.  all bees love those flowers but especially bumble bees. I do use them for chop and drop but only because they get way too big.  (also chicken feed).  lastly, I let bidens alba grow across property lines all around..  It seems every type of bee for miles around visits these "weeds' daily. The patches are so large I believe it is the main food source for many bees.  If any bees are foraging, you will see some on the bidens alba.
 
Simon Torsten
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Michael Cox wrote:As far as I am aware - and I have looked into it - there is no credible evidence that bees are harmed in anyway by cell towers or other electromagnetic interference. There was one "paper" published a few years ago that got a lot of social media attention, but that involved a phone handset being placed inside a small number of colonies. Handsets generate MUCH stronger EM over short distances (centimeters) than they get from cell towers that are further away (meters). The inverse square law kicks in in a big way. As for the paper itself, it was essentially a school science project - small sample size, inadequate control of variables etc... There is so much natural variation in honey bee colonies due to genetic and environmental factors that huge - and I mean really huge - numbers of colonies are needed to draw reasonable conclusions.

On the question of bee forage - it is a great idea to consider nectar flows. These are highly variable by region however, so there is not going to be a single set of recommended plants.

Personally, I have been planting sainfoin - a long flowering, nitrogen fixing fodder crop that makes masses of nectar through the summer months.



Thanks!

The EMFs made me sick and all of my pets got fat cell cancers; one of them got mast cell cancer. The one that grew up there.

When I finally evacuated the fat cell cancers shrank.

But the OG dog died from mast cell cancer.

That said; there are other variables.

One of them is the abuse of pesticides by the previous owner.

I bought the home from an elderly Korean War vet, he wanted to downsize, becuse it's a weird house that was dden on to a few times, and had three extra lots.

Lots of lawn to mow, old windows that have to be scraped and rapainted, clean the gutters etc. He bought a duplex after I bought his house.

I bought his riding lawnmower, and his big dog as part of the deal. LOL.

I agreed to adopt his dog, ended up paying him for the dog at closing when the abstract company screwed up the math.

Haha.

He was a great dog, but he wasn't an indoor dog until I adopted him, and he had the best years of his life with my basset hounds.

But he developed large tumors from mast cell cancer I had surgically removed twice.

He died two years later that the vet predicted, and went out all of a sudden one day, and was a good death.

But the man who I bought the house from was old school, and he nuked the lawn with sevin pesticide all the time to control fleas and spiders and everything.

The effect was he created superfleas.

And it was toxic to the dog.

Also the cell towers were toxic to that dog. He's had too much of it.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is similar and related to Electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

Head injury, mold exposure, all correlated. One you get toxic via one vector, other stimuli can more easily become hyperreactive.

I took the big bag of SEVIN to the hazmat disposal, tried to use beneficial nematodes for fleas.

Didn't work, clay soil.

It's one of the reasons I used hugelkultur. I hauled in everything and put it ON TOP of the yard.

I did use some native dirt, but I dug it up after my giganctic compost pile had been there a few years.

HAHA

That said, bees are effected by emfs that's certain.

But they are foragers, so I decided not to keep any HIVES here, but to feed them.

It's their best chance to adapt if they come here and get food and go home hopefully father away from the towers.

You are correct that the towers aren't as bad as the hand held devices due to the inverse square law.

That's going to change with 5G beamforming. In various ways.

But I decided that keeping bees here was bad, but providing fodder for them is fine.

The cell towers aren't as bad as a farmer that sprays pesticide on rent a bees.



 
Simon Torsten
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Anne Miller wrote:

What I've noticed is if I plant kale, mustard, spinach, and cilantro in the VERY LATE fall, some of the plants germinate in the fall and remain very small over the winter (Kale and spinach).



I have always considered Kale and spinach fall plants.  I have never had either go to seed or flower.

Since your title suggests you are looking for things that flower, have you considered the many edible flowers?

This topic might be of interest:

https://permies.com/t/154443/flowers-grow



I grew mustard and kale and tried spinach and cilantro as spring plants my first year on this garden.

Some cilanto growers will tell you if you plant them too late they shoot and seed.

Mine just burned up and died.

LOL

In Tulsa its' variable year to year but generally in the last decade often times we don't get a good spring or fall season. It seems to often switch from too cold to  
too hot too fast.

Within the last five years we've has some nice long cool springs with lots of rain.

Back to Kale/Mustard as bee food though.

The firt year I planted them in the spring. The kale and mustard made edible leaves even though the mustard I planted was yellow mustard seed, not whtever they sell as mustard greens in Walmart.

Haha.

Mexican spice aisle bulk mustard and Spices of India Mustard.

The coriander got too hot and died.

So did the spinach.  

So later that year I planted it all again in the fall.

And it got too cold to fast and it died, most of it.

Haha. The spinach made it though. It has antifreeze!

The  third year I planted it really late...DEcember like I'm going to do tomorrow.

It was earlier than that late november third year.

It all overwintered and it all survived and all grew big and flowered and seeded before it got too hot.

It has to do most when I weed it.(This wasn't a scientific study I just plant when have time to  weed. After weeding the soil is loose so I plant.

Haha

I didn't do much last year nd Johnson grass took over  lot. I'm going to go deep and focus on those roots, and in the process have to rebuild, and that will leave me with mixed aerated soil begging for seeds.

But the third year I got flowers. Mustard and Kale.

Because I planted them late fall/early winter, they overwintered, and they grew huge in the spring before it got too hot.

I'm guessing the pollen not the nectar is what the bees liked.

They love both, and they love Russian sage.

Here in Tulsa.

Russian sage in Late summer.

 
Simon Torsten
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Jake Esselstyn wrote:From the Xerces Society: https://xerces.org/publications/plant-lists/pollinator-plants-southern-plains-region



Thank you!

There are two local resources that might help, but I don't have links to their  designs.

https://www.oxleynaturecenter.org/
https://www.gatheringplace.org/parkactivities

Notably Oxley Nature Center, and The Gathering Place in Tulsa have used native plants to create pollinator refuges, particularly monarch butterflies.

But pretty interesting efforts.

The Tulsa Library System has pollinator gardens at some branches.
No info there either.

I think the science and design methods haven't been well publicised in these parks. The gardens are splendid though.

LOL

Because petrochemical ag donors?

I'll try to get them to publish.

 
gardener
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Sourwood tree has been mentioned, and is a good one. Burnt Ridge carries it and will ship, though they may be sold out. It blooms in late summer/early fall. I also highly recommend linden (American and littleleaf), and chestnut trees. Granted, these are all large trees, but you mentioned you might be moving so maybe you could plant them then. Or get a community space near you to plant them, like a church or library. I've read sources that claim that one of these trees (chestnut, sourwood, linden) is the equivalent of an acre of clover blooming for a week, when mature and in bloom. I don't know if that's true, but their forage capacity is large.

Mock orange is a shrub native to the Pacific Northwest but should grow where you are. It has wonderfully fragrant flowers and attracts bees.

 
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I have some mixed feelings about the conventional nectar flow as it focuses on honey bees. And honey bees mostly do not need our help, they have their human (bee)keepers.
While it is basically always a good idea to plant lots of flowering plants and have both early and late bloomers we should not lose solitary bees and other insects out of view. Those do not need masses of nectar but rather a large variety of different sources.

So from my conservationist point of view: Plant "flowers" like brassica by all means, but also allow for "weeds" to go to flower, especially those plants that are native to your area. When you want to help the insect wildlife, allow some sandy ground (the majority of solitary bees nest in the ground), some dead wood, also leave dead flowers and other stems and stalks because many tiny bees overwinter inside as eggs or pupae.

If you are seeing a growing number of bees you are on a good way but you might want to add some elements to make life easier for those solitary bees and other insects (those have different needs hardly based on nectar but above all on food for their larvae like caterpillars).
 
pollinator
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Anita Martin you brought it to the point.. Thanks as this has to be mentioned repeatedly over and over again...

Most important is to give the pollinators (bees alone cannot provide food security!) a good head start after the winter when all combs are licked out and new brood is in production.
Lots bees and other pollinators die at the first warm day taking the risk and find forage, fly too far and end up when the cold returns already in the afternoon.
Considered as the earliest bee food is the willow and if the space doesn't allow trees put the humble crocus bulb in any undisturbed place or if available in the lawn.
It will come back year after year.
Crocus alone is only a toothpick in a bonfire but still a great source of nectar and for this early spring a great source of pollen to build up the number of much needed workers.

After end of March the list would be too big to write down and I won't believe that there are no fruit trees, wild spots and so on around that would not provide honey in abundance.
From April on its not too much to worry about.

In my humble opinion:
People always worry the bees..
Yes, bees are endangered as the numbers shrink in many parts of the world.
BUT how many pollination specialists incl. birds and bats are close to extinction or already gone forever?
Why have these gone and nobody realized it?
Because they have not such a big lobby and number of caretakers.  
If you have lots of bees in your garden its a good sign that their owner cares about them well but is not a guarantee for a healthy and balanced landscape...
Focus also if there are other pollinators who have to make it on their own in the early spring.
 
Anne Miller
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There are lot of great spring blooming plants in this thread.

I thought I would share some flowers that bloom in the fall:

Goldenrod

Goldenrod is one of the last flowers to bloom in the fall, with its bloom period generally stretching from August to October. There are more than 100 species in the goldenrod family. The plants typically reach around 5 feet tall and display clusters of tiny yellow flowers at the tops of their stems when they are in bloom. Bees and butterflies love these flowers.



Sneezeweed (Helenium)

Sneezeweed blooms look like small, russet-toned coneflowers. Many can grow quite tall



Sunflower (Helianthus)

Tickseed (Coreopsis)

Bees and butterflies tend to love the daisy-like blooms.



https://www.thespruce.com/top-fall-blooming-flowers-for-your-garden-1402188
 
                          
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Simon Torsten wrote:Thanks for the replies.

Some of these plants/seeds are hard to find in Tulsa.


Try searching on etsy
Lots of wildflowers, regional weeds, obscure varieties
Range of prices
Remember if they are wildflowers, you can start with just a few seeds because it will spread on its own

We should have a seed swap form!!!
 
Anne Miller
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Remember if they are wildflowers, you can start with just a few seeds because it will spread on its own

We should have a seed swap form!!!



Hey, welcome to the forum!

We have two places where Seed Swaps can be posted:

https://permies.com/f/19/resources

https://permies.com/f/386/flea-market

Have you bought a lot of seeds on Etsy with good luck?

Have you done seed swaps?

What kind of seed do you have to swap?
 
pollinator
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I am in the north east so what I grow may not be applicable.  I do try and have plants blooming the entire season.  We keep honey bees but we see more native pollinators  than we do honey bees in our garden. We have many different kinds of native bees, wasps, hornets, dragon flies, humming birds, butterflies, and moths.  Our garden is full of life and I love it.  We do have a garden pond with a large shallow gravel bed section.  The bees and dragonflies use it for drinking and in the case of the dragonflies breading.  It is also full of tadpoles and salamanders too.  

 We have the following flowers in our garden.    Crocus,  daffodils, Blue Flag Iris, bearded irises, clovers, common milkweed, swamp milkweed, various mints, oregano, various thymes, sunflowers, cosmos, calendula, borage, zinnias, nasturtiums, cone flowers, black eyes susans, daisies, clovers, bunching onions and chives, sages, summer and winter squashes, pansies, poppies, New England Asters, goldenrod, bergamot, comfrey, dill, parsnips, leeks, kale, pac choi, Yarrow, dandelions,  plantain, meadow buttercup, and some other native flowers I haven't identified yet.  We also have various fruit shrubs, vines, and trees which bloom in the spring.  

I do multiple plantings of sunflowers starting in the spring till mid July so there will be some of them blooming into the fall.  I leave the stalks up over the winter for the birds and native insets to use.   I have used both cheap bird seed and heirloom varieties for this purpose.  They do self seed for the early spring planting.  I do still plant them in the summer for an early fall bloom.  

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