Portneuf Valley Farmer's Market
Portneuf Valley Farmer's Market

Starting A Bee Garden: How Your Family Can Benefit

 

 

Photo via Pixabay by Cocoparisienne

 

Starting your own garden can be a big job, and many people think they can’t do it because they don’t know how. It’s not as complicated as you might think, however, and giving the bees in your community a place to find food and drink is extremely important, as their populations are dying off at a rapid rate.

 

Bees may seem like pests to many, but they are very important parts of our food production system. In fact, bees play an active role in about one-third of all the food we eat, from pollinating fruits and vegetables to keeping plants thriving for animals to eat. Due to pesticides and loss of habitat -- among other things -- these tiny creatures are becoming more and more endangered, which threatens our crops and our very way of life.

 

That’s why it’s imperative that we do all we can to help bees thrive, from supporting local beekeepers to creating small garden spaces (or big ones, if you have the space!) for them to feed. Here are a few tips on how to get started, and how you and your family can benefit.

 

Assess your space

 

You don’t have to live in a rural area or have a lot of space to create a garden; you can do it in an apartment or with a small patch of land that gets good sunlight. If you live in an apartment or don’t have a big lawn, consider putting in a window box full of herbs. Bees love these savory treats, and you and your family can use them for cooking and baking, as well.

 

Plant what you love

 

Bees aren’t really that picky when it comes to plants; they love flowers, veggies, fruit, and herbs of all kinds. Although they do appreciate flat-headed flowers -- such as blackeyed Susans or sunflowers -- because they allow bees to land and sit safely while they feed, they’ll head toward pretty much any bloom, no matter what shape or color. This is great news for you, because you can pick and choose your favorite flowers or foods to plant. Check out your local garden store for seeds and get your family involved; kids will love tending a garden and watching it grow, and the act of gardening can actually boost self-esteem and help with anxiety. Not only that, but having all those fresh fruits and vegetables around will help the whole family make healthier choices when it’s time to eat.

 

For more information on what to plant and when, read this handy guide.

 

Create some bonding time

 

In today’s busy world, it’s hard to find family bonding time that doesn’t involve a screen of some sort. Gardening together is a great way to spend quality time with your kids while teaching them how to care for something.

 

“Planning a garden, planting the seeds and watching them grow give kids a sense of purpose and responsibility. Making sure that the plants get enough fertilizer, water and sun fosters mindfulness. The concepts learned while gardening, like composting food scraps for fertilizer or using gathered rainwater, can show kids a deep respect and responsibility for taking care of our planet,” writes Dr. Nimali Fernando.

 

One of the best benefits of using gardening to bond with your family is that you can do it for many months out of the year. Bees need pollen and nectar well into the fall, so do some research on what to plant each season.

 

Remember that you don’t have to have a large space to create a garden, but it’s important to find an area that gets plenty of sunlight. Never use pesticides on your flowers, and don’t forget to put out a small bowl of water with a few protruding rocks inside so the bees will have a place to land safely and get a drink.

By:Christy Erickson

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