Bees Need Your Help!

by admin on December 5, 2013

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Bees are responsible for pollinating one in three bites of food we eat…and they’re in trouble. Since the mid-1990s, they’ve been dying off in droves around the world. Colonies have been mysteriously collapsing with adult bees disappearing, seemingly abandoning their hives.

This phenomenon — known as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD — is likely caused by a variety of interacting factors, including pathogens, loss of habitat and increased exposure to systemic and other pesticides.

Policymakers have yet to make pollinator health a top priority, and current regulations don’t provide adequate protection for bees. But a groundswell of concerned citizens, gardeners and beekeepers is building to protect bees.

Join the movement! Take the pledge to provide a honey bee haven with access to pesticide-free food, shelter and water. It doesn’t take much space — a few containers of the right kinds of plants tucked into your garden, on a balcony or front stoop, will get you started.

Guiding Principles:

1.Protect bees from pesticides. Pesticides kill beneficial insects including pollinators and natural enemies that control common pests like aphids. Certain pesticides, including neonicotinoids, are highly toxic to honey bees in particular. Instead of using pesticides, explore organic ways to grow healthy plants, such as using compost for healthy soil and controlling pests with homemade remedies and biocontrols like ladybugs.

2.Provide a variety of food for bees. Consider clustered plantings with staggered blooming times so there is food throughout the year and particularly in the late summer and fall. Native plants are always best, and inter-planting and hedgerows provide additional forage on farms.

3.Provide a year-round, clean source of water for bees. This can be a river, pond, irrigation system, rainwater collection system or small-scale garden water features. Shallow water sources can provide more than enough water for bees, without creating opportunities for mosquitoes to breed.

4.Provide shelter for bees. Leave some ground undisturbed and untilled and some dead trees and plants on the property for wild bees to nest in.

To find out more, go to Honey Bee Haven

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Permaculture with Sepp Holzer

by admin on April 10, 2013

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 Spring is always busy.  The highlight this spring has been a permaculture workshop in Bozeman MT with the master wizard Sepp Holzer from Austria.  I have been studying Sepp’s books for a little over a year and am very inspired by his work.  He is bringing abundant life back to desertified land all over the world.  His courses fill quickly, so when I was accepted into the course in Bozeman I knew that I just had to go.  With the help of my daughter and executive assistant, I was on my way!

The course was held on a property just north of Bozeman.  The owner, along with friends are just starting to turn this farmland into a permaculture haven.  Sepp showed us how to find a spring on the land and then how to develop it to make the water available.  We also learned how to make a hugelkultur bed.  This was so awesome because a raised bed like this is designed to need very little watering, even in dry climates.

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In Sepp’s newest book, “Desert or Paradise:  Renaturing Endangered Landscapes, Integrating Diversified Aquaculture, and Creating Biotopes” you can learn the details about how to build hugle beds.  It is a simple process, yet there are many details that are important.  Following directions in the book will help the learning curve go more smoothly, and a successful abundant harvest is your reward!  There are great and inspiring photos of abundant hugle beds in Sepp’s book.  If you look around on the internet you will also find information and photos of many of his projects around the world.  It is mind blowing! So now the work begins!  Sepp would most likely describe my land as a “pine desert.”  It is pretty, yet mostly pine trees.  This is not a healthy forest.  My work is to thin the pines (which needs to happen for forest fire safety anyway), and add fruit and nut trees as well as many other types of plants.  Basically to create a “permaculture food forest” and I will use hugle beds to prepare the land for planting.

It is early spring and there is still time to get some new beds going this year.  We will be mixing both perennial and annual plants in our hugle beds.  Will keep you posted!

Go ahead, comment your thoughts on this topic!

 

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Early Spring Planting Tips

March 1, 2013

Spring comes and goes at this point in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. We’ve had many beautiful days in the upper 50’s and we get to work on garden projects and other fun outdoor activities, then we get hit with a snow storm and end up indoors working on other projects. It works out […]

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Hoop houses and soil building ideas!

February 13, 2013

 HOOP HOUSES To get a head start on the growing season this year, why not try a simple hoop house?  They are inexpensive and simple to make.  And they last a long time.  We had one for four years and the heavy plastic was still doing fine.  We moved and now we are getting ready […]

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