Skip to main content

I want to be a beekeeper when I grow up

If you stop and think a minute, we all should really give the honey bee more credit.  I think we take for granted the little buzzy friends that help put food on our tables, and I don't just mean honey. Bees actually pollinate our fruit trees, many of our veggie crops and even some field crops like alfalfa and sunflowers.  I've read as much as 1/3 of the world's food crops are dependent on bee pollination.  And guess what? Bees are apparently disappearing.  EEK!

The bottom line is, bee populations are decreasing due to many different environmental and disease factors, and human populations and food needs are as always, increasing.  DOUBLE EEK!

I started thinking more about bees a few years ago when I stumbled upon an ad for a Haagen Dazs ice cream flavor called 'Vanilla Honey Bee'.  Who knew one of my favorite snacks could be so educational?  I'm not sure if you can still find this ice cream flavor anymore, but Haagen Dazs has a website you should definitely check out:  At first I was skeptical about finding reputable info on an ice cream website, of all places, but apparently Haagen Dazs is partnering with reputable bee research facilities at Penn State University and UC-Davis to spread the word about bee troubles.  I think this website does a wonderful marketing job of getting info out to the general public about the problems honeybees are facing such as Colony Collapse Disorder.  Haagen Dazs' livelihood depends on being able to access fresh fruit and nut ingredients that bees work to produce, so it totally makes sense.  I DO want to help the honey bees!  Now I love ice cream, AND I love honey bees. Thanks Haagen Dazs!

Closer to home, the University of Minnesota has it's own bee research facility.  Check out for more info.  The U offers a beekeeping short course for budding beekeepers each spring on a weekend in March.  Alas, I have missed the boat this year and didn't sign up for the class, but I hope to next year.  In the meantime, I have ordered and read a great beekeeping manual and found a great informative research article on their site which even includes some ideas on how to improve our landscapes to make them bee-friendly:

If you still aren't sold on how important and totally cool honey bees are, check out this photo from the 2010 MN State Fair.  The honey display in the Horticulture building was probably the coolest and most beautiful thing I saw at the fair last year, well, besides my brownie sundae w/ ICE CREAM!:


Popular Posts

Broccoli Land Speed Record

I'm behind in posting my seed starting progress.  On Wed, March 16th, about 8 weeks till last predicted frost, I started my pepper seeds.  I planted two cells of Jalapeno, two of green bell peppers and 5 of the colorful Carnival Mix bells.  I always plant 2-3 seeds per cell and then thin to the strongest survivor.  So they are all up and happy now: I was planning to start my tomato and broccoli seeds a week ago on Tues, March 29th (6 weeks till last frost) but didn't get around to it until Friday, April 1st.  Close enough.  Mother Nature's behind this spring too if you ask me.  It snowed last week, for pete's sake! Last night, I went down to water and check on things, and the Romanesco Broccoli seeds are already up!  That's got to be a broccoli land speed record, right?  Three days?  The package says they emerge in 10-21 days so I am feeling pretty dang good about my wicked horticultural skillz.  Here's a pic of my eager little broccoli seedlings:

Go Home

I haven't left my corner of the world past the mailbox in a week. I haven't blogged in, I don't know, years? Coronavirus is here. Our spring break turned into 'social distancing' instead of visiting Grandma and Grandpa.  Regardless of human anxiety and fear, spring has the guts to show up. Snow piles are almost melted, birds are chatty in the cottonwood tree and the rhubarb is peeking out of the ground near the chicken coop. Seeds have the audacity to grow. Do I?

Night gardening deserves a quiet night

One evening this week, Monday, June 20th to be exact, my Hubby and I planted our new blueberry hedge around the two outside edges of the potager.  I ended up deciding on 'Northblue' plants since they looked nice at the nursery and Auntie Linda, who grows just a tiny ACRE of these blue beauties, gave her seal of approval to the performance of this northern-hardy variety.  Apparently they've only failed to produce once in twenty years for her, that's a pretty solid record in my book.  I don't really have it in the 'budget' to buy eleven #1 gallon blueberry plants, so Hubby and I declared them his Father's Day gift, pretty much making them a necessity.  That's how we roll. I wanted to act like a sober gardener and plant in straight rows for once, so I actually measured and marked the rows w/ paint before digging.  They are planted on center 4' away from the outside veggie boxes.  'Northblue' is supposed to get about 3' wide so theoreti