Three important goals for sustainable gardening are to have diversity, grow native plants and include as many plants as possible to sustain your local wildlife. Let’s consider bees. The honey bee has received so much press lately; we share an almost archetypal image of Winnie the Pooh licking the honey pot. I do love my honey and only buy it from local vendors at the farmer’s market and have been concerned about the loss of huge colonies of honeybees.
Meanwhile there are native bees that in many commercial orchards are doing the job of pollinating very nicely. These wonderful beefolk NEED NATIVE FLOWERS, which we will address this week; but, today let’s just make a bamboo bee house. It is very easily made, the toughest step is cutting the 6”- 8” lengths of bamboo, while keeping intact the sealed off section just below each joint. This provides a cozy nest for the eggs and baby bees and the beemom has only one end to plug up to keep out other critters, rain, snow etc. Another important step is to gently sand the cut edge to remove all tiny splinters, which bee moms don’t like being poked with.
Install the bundled bee house in a southern facing tree branch; set it at a slight downward angle to protect against rain or snow and not more than four to five feet from the ground. I put this one in a wax myrtle tree. To offer some feng shui power to the project, I bundled nine bamboo canes because it is an auspicious number which I felt could offer a nice prayer of abundance for all the bees in the garden.
Here are some links you might enjoy written by bee researchers . http://www.fnps.org/committees/fnps/pdfs/bee_research_show_benefit_of_native_plants.pdf
Angie & Tiffany standing next to their Tower Garden™ which surround the outdoor café at the Wind Horse Wellness Center in Eustis, Florida. Their green business Karmafarm Online offers a vast collection of green products that can be purchased online. Their Karmafarm Eco Boutique at Wind Horse allows customers to eat the food grown on the Tower Garden™, learn more about it and have fun exploring an incredible collection of other earth-friendly goods.
The Tower Garden™ technology took ten years to develop and can grow up to 44 plants faster than if you grew them in the ground. It works on a closed, recycling technology that uses 5% of the nutrients and water used in a normal vegetable garden.
As nutritious water continually recycles through the system, the plants absorb the specially formulated, pH balanced, mineral rich, ionic solution. Because the roots are highly oxygenated, disease is practically nonexistent and plants grow fast and remain super healthy.
Made from food-grade plastic, it is a vertical, sustainable gardening system designed for commercial and home use – easily fits on the deck or outside patio, in a roof garden, on the front porch or in the sunroom during cold weather.
In honor and gratitude of your garden’s abundance the seed heads are left alone to fall on the ground for food, until the seeds are gathered to be carefully stored until spring and to be added to the birdfeed jar for winter food.
Remembering with gratitude and deep appreciation, Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese sustainable farmer, who taught the world how to make seed balls in his book, The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming. To read more see You Tube’s Seed Ball Story or purchase seed balls online at Etsy.
Here in Florida we are designing garden beds to grow cool weather crops, favorite salad greens and replenishing herbal ground covers. As we are moving into a rather dry season I like to capture rainwater along the edge of the garden bed. I dig a twelve-inch deep trench or one shovel length and make it at least five inches wide. This makes a nice ditch to capture rainwater from one of Mother Earth’s autumn rainstorms that blows in from the hot gulf water.
To keep the mosquitoes from laying their eggs in standing water I fill the trench with gravel stones. An unexpected reward for my water conservation efforts is the grass that likes to grow into the garden, gets hung-up on the ‘cliff’’. It makes an easy way to keep the grass cut on the edge of the ‘cliff’ and out of the garden. The stones help stabilize the ditch and reduce the growth of weeds.