Last year was a busy time in my garden. I planted several fruit trees, blueberry bushes, raspberries, grapes, lingonberries, and more strawberries. I also added raised beds for vegetables. Then when I got the beehive, I wanted to do more pollinator friendly planting. I added some perennials that the bees prefer and I planted some spring bulbs for the bees to have access to pollen earlier in the season.
This year, I have decided to expand my garden even more. Two almond trees and two more peach trees are on their way. There is a greenhouse in my basement with lots and lots of seedlings growing. There are veggies and flowers down there getting bigger every day.
One of my big projects this year is ripping up the front lawn so we can have a “no mow” front yard. I am planning to plant native, pollinator friendly plants and sweet potatoes. Last year I tried growing sweet potatoes in pots, but it did not go well. I am hoping that giving them more space will allow them to do better and we will get to enjoy sweet potatoes.
I am also attending a workshop on high bionutrient crop production with Dan Kittredge through the Bionutrient Food Association. Learning about properly caring for the soil and the plants that I put into it is good for me and for the bees. My goal is to have a well nourished garden to provide nutritious food for my family and the bees. Healthy soil also means that my plants will be able to better protect themselves from pests and diseases without the use of chemicals.
I have stayed away from commercial chemical use in my garden, but I have used products labeled organic. Recently I have learned that even with the organic label some of these things can be toxic to the bees and not beneficial to the garden. This year I am going to focus on using only products that will not harm the bees and will help make the soil more nutritious. I have spayed my fruit trees with diluted neem oil to help keep pests away and give the trees a chance to improve their health.
The compost bins are also getting a boost this year. I have added some humates and minerals to the bins. I have also started a worm bin, the one pound of red worms arrived earlier this week. The garden will benefit from all of the goodies that the worms will leave behind. I still have a lot to learn about the bees and the garden, hopefully all will be patient with me while I learn as much as I can.