Planting a bee garden has long been on my list of things to do, we have a vegetable garden and fruit trees in our small back yard and the lovely ladies from Urban Bounty have been advising me on what I can plant around the trees to attract bees and not take away from the nutrients that the trees need to produce fruit.
I’ve had bags of garden soil and compost delivered and am getting a collection of flowering plants together. Three of my favourites from Urban Bounty are Okinawa Spinach and Perennial Basil (watch out for a delish pesto using these in the coming weeks) and Rose Geranium one of our signature scents!
Are you keen to grow amazing fruit crops and copious vegetable harvests? One of the best tips is to make your garden bee friendly. Many fruit and vegetable plants need to be pollinated in order to fruit. The ‘worker bees’ do that hard work for us so that we don’t have to pollinate manually.
Stop for a moment to imagine what your edible garden would be like without pollinating bees – no Stonefruit, Apples, Courgette, Pumpkin, Beas, Peas, Cucumber or Aubergine.
The best thing you can do to encourage them to stop by your vegetable patch, is to create a bee friendly garden filled with lots of flowering plants. You can head over to Urban Bounty (www.urbanbounty.co.nz) to discover lots of the bee friendly plants mentioned below – they even deliver to your door!
Top tips for creating a bee friendly garden
Plant companion herbs and flowers that are rich in the nectar and pollen – the bees love it!
We love to use Nasturtium, Borage, Lavender and Calendula because they also add a splash of colour to your garden and ward off many garden pests too. of the splash of colour they add to your garden. (Nasturtium is great for deterring the aphids that love your Rose bush…)
There are lots of bee-attracting winter herbs and vegetables that you can plant in autumn too: Perennial Basil, Pizza Thyme, Fennel, Beans, Thyme, Rosemary and Coriander.
Bees can’t see the colour red, so plant flowers and herbs that are yellow, purple/blue or white.
It is a good idea to plant things that bloom at different times of year, to give bees a year-round source of pollen and nectar.
Don’t stop with annual herbs and flowers – there are also many perennial bushes and trees that the bees love (and lots of them taste delicious too!)
Try Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Citrus and Passionfruit – you’ll have gorgeous fruit year after year, and you’ll be doing your garden a bee friendly-service too!
Avoid using pesticides and sprays in your garden – many are harmful to bees.
If you can’t avoid it, spray at night, when bees are less likely to be ‘out and about’.
Do a project with your kids and make a bee hotel.
Have a shallow water source for bees – all that work can make an insect thirsty!