John, I just found this thread. Thanks for posting, lots of great photos and ideas. Any big changes in the way you do things since this post?
i havent seen his posts in a few years.
I’ve been posting regularly, Steve, and I’ve seen many of your posts during that time. I also post on permies.com and Home Orchard Society.
No big changes since then, disc4tw. I don’t have to create so many mason bee tubes because I break branches of my fruit trees every year because I get such excellent fruit set.
sorry John i must have missed them. i have seen your posts on permies.com.
This is just what I do. Your mileage might vary. I planted a 1/2 acre wildflower meadow. I have all the bees I need now. All kinds of species too
That’s 3/8ths of an acre more than my whole property currently But yes we do have some beds that are majority native wildflowers. It helps a lot to keep the rest of things balanced. Anyone buy from American Meadows? - #21 by disc4tw
I bought my seed from Michigan Wildflower farm. I have been happy. I have lots of weeds though including lots of invasive thistly species. Doesn’t matter to the bees. They like thistle
I don’t have anywhere near that much land, period, either. But I do keep native and non-native wildflowers mixed in. It helps with pollination and invites parasitic wasps on the apple maggot. I also only spray non-toxic substances like compost tea.
i dont have a meadow but ive interplanted pollinator mixes from tractor supply in amongst my fruit and nut trees and bushes. ill plant some more this spring untill its all filled it. i have a steep ditch along the road that was hair raising to mow. i killed it off with herbicide then planted it with wildflower mix , lupines and crown vetch. looks very nice 2 years later and my neighbor’s comment on it when they walk by. i was giving fertilizer but now the lupines and vetch are doing it for me. ive also been seeding my lawn with dutch clover which the bumbles really love. planted some Himalayan pink dandelions last spring around the edges of plots. they are short compared to the native ones. rareseeds.com has them.
Do you plant any chicory?
Bees love it early in the morning. (And BlueBerry loves to eat it for supper / beans & taters.
I do. Chicory grows wild around here. It’s pretty and nutritious. One of the main things I get from nutrition oriented doctors is: “Eat as wide a variety and as much raw leafy greens as you can tolerate and afford. They are the healthiest thing you can eat.”
I never eat just rice, pasta, beans, or meat. I always chop up some kind of leafy green to put into them. We can harvest green leafies year round. I forage and bring stuff back into my garden to cultivate and eat. They displace unhelpful weeds, and , they grow like weeds!
By chicory, you mean the common blue flower that grows along the roadside? You are saying the leaves are edible? Can you eat them raw or must you cook them? And what about the blossoms?
I tried cooking nettles once. They were good. Tasted about like spinach. I thought I was onto something, as they grow freely around here. Then I got the worst bellyache and diarrhea I can remember. Never again. I will start with only a taste of new foods to begin with. (I do have some mild food allergies )
Yes, chicory is a well-known vegetable in Italy, just like it’s close cousin, dandelion. BOth are far more nutritious than the vegetables we buy in the store. I imported them into my garden to attract pollinators and diversify the soil food web. I eat them raw.
I am going to go out and harvest nettles again here soon. I do it every year. WAY more nutritious than store vegetables. Very deep roots. Funny, I’ve never had stomach upset with them. I don’t recall anyone else ever having that either.
Yes, the chicory you may already have, and it is edible …the leaves (IDK about stems & blooms). Roots dried are sometimes used as coffee substitute…not very tasty though.
The leaves are better tasting than dandelion if you eat as a salad.
Both make great pot herbs. (Preferrable to kale, spinach, collards, turnip greens, in my opinion)
I’ve avoided nettles…but I understand in moderation they’re fine if you cook them tender.
funny you mention chicory… i just got a packet of seeds last month.
Among other things, chicory is a forage plant for honeybees at a time of year things might be scarce for them. It keeps blooming during drought…especilly if cut and gets to come back. Taproot like dandelion or Queen Ann’s Lace.
Deer love the tender leaves. (I do also).
A second family member ate the same batch of nettles with no ill effects, so I guess I must be allergic to them.
Wildlife biologists often mention that yellow, blue, and white flowers are more attractive to pollinators. Other than chicory, blue flowers seem hard to come by. Another reason to like this plant.
a friend of my father’s said he would add a pinch of chicory root to the percolator cup with the ground coffee and he swears it makes the best cup of joe.