Cover crops for bees

babsbag

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@Buzz'n Billy Apology for what ? :)

My husband keeps asking if I can plant mustard for the bees...I keep telling him "no" it plants itself, but I do leave it when I see it :) I had problems a few years ago with it attracting squash bugs in my garden though so now it has to stay in the orchard.

I have a friend that works for a vineyard in Napa, CA and they not plant the mustard. It is there and they hate it. BUT they turn around and have a mustard festival to capitalize on its existence. Go figure.

I leave all kinds of weeds for the bees. It is a new way to garden...mowing around weeds. :th

@Baymule I feed wild birds...a lot... but have never read the bag. I do know that many times the niger seed is called thistle seed but it wouldn't surprise me if there are other unwanted seeds in those bags. My chickens do a pretty good job of cleaning up under the feeders so not much grows. The roadsides around us are covered in star thistle but so far not much on my land. I am a star thistle vigilante and they are eradicated on sight. I know that at one point the USDA was studying a weevil that would kill star thistle, but haven't heard much about it in a long time. I wonder what else that weevil might kill
 

Robbin

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I'm trying Hubam Clover, which is annual white sweet clover, this year. It's a hybrid of biannual sweetclovers. All the benefits of sweetclover but flowers the first year.
Tests showed it actually produced more nectar than the biannual. Suppose to tolerate warmer dryer climates in the south a lot better.
 

misfitmorgan

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Besides the already mentioned they are selling seed mixes for bee keepers too, it would not be a true cover crop but something more like those wild flower mixes you can buy i think. Anyway the ones i have found list the following:
  • Chinese Houses
  • Lance-leaved Coreopsis Tall
  • Plains Coreopsis
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Yellow Lupine
  • Perennial Lupine
  • Arroyo Lupine
  • Palmer's Penstemon
  • Rocky Mountain Penstemon
  • California Blue Bell
  • Lacy Phacelia
  • Yellow Prairie Coneflower
  • Mexican Hat
  • Clasping Coneflower
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Crimson Clover
  • Perennial Blanketflower
  • Annual Blue Lupine
  • California Poppy
  • Partridge Pea
  • Poached Egg Meadowfoam
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Cosmos
  • Sunflowers
Aside from the flower mixes i have also seen Borage Seed.
I also found this link http://honeylove.org/top-30-flowers-for-bees/
And this one http://beesource.com/resources/usda/nectar-and-pollen-plants/ which has a pretty cool regional chart on it for honey bee plants.
 
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