Bee holey

There is another quiet revolution going on our farm….we have bees! I can gaze at a colorful grouping of flowers and note honey bees going about their business. I am told they are friendly creatures as long as I don’t block their front door while wearing dark clothing as I’m jumping and thumping or yelling. If you think about it, my front door would remain locked if you showed up doing any of those antics so…be warned!

Our buckwheat is in full bloom, prairie flowers are just getting started, and perennials are each bursting forth with their vivid palette of colors in due season. Honey bees are a wonder to study – collecting pollen which contains protein for brood rearing and nectar for food storage in the form of honey. Pollination is an added benefit of honey bees. Many plants require pollinators to produce seeds but not necessarily to produce fruit from seeds… such as many root crops. Melons, cucumbers, squash, most fruit tree crops, and raspberries all need lots of visitors at their flowers. The moral to this story is: Please learn to be friendly to bees – be careful with herbicides and pesticides.

Holey is what comes from many insect visitors setting up lunch on our leaf pads – be they basil, Tokyo Bekana or cabbage. We do try our best to discourage such feasting by using a companion crop (such as radishes), a special brew , Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or covering the crop. We don’t want to rely on one type of strategy since adaptation is a genetic defense and hopping on the stronger-is better-wagon lands us all in a mess.

For those that have been singing the radish song… will come to a halt soon. The weather got hot and I have them all to pickle! I hope to have a sample for you to taste and if you like it….. you can take some home. Be forewarned, I was wondering why the house smelled queer when I was making radish pickles and….my son reminded me that radishes are from the cabbage family and brassicas aren’t known for their perfume!

The harvest this week should include….a few more garlic scapes, a large bunch of green onions, a large bunch of carrots, radishes, Tokyo bekana, Pac choi, oregano, mint, dill and a sampling of spinach.