GROWING FOOD

Planting Buckwheat

Planting Buckwheat for the bees at Sensible Gardening and Living

Since we have a small apiary on our farm we are always looking for plants to grow that will be good food for the bees. Buckwheat is such a crop. Buckwheat honey is dark, full-bodied with a strong spicy aroma. Buckwheat honey benefits are many as it also contains iron and more antioxidant compounds than some lighter honeys. Buckwheat honey is especially useful for making mead. Very popular in Europe is can be hard to find in North America.  After purchasing buckwheat seeds in the spring we prepared a plot for planting. Reading up on when to plant buckwheat we learned that it prefers to grow during warm days but cooler nights which generally occur in the fall. Nevertheless we planted, watered and waited. Not much happened for many weeks.

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Bee Keeper / Sensible Gardening and Living

We blamed it on the birds and quail and decided they must have eaten all of our seeds. Finally a showing of growth appeared but ever so sparse. Over the following few weeks our buckwheat grew stunted and finally went into bloom for the bees. A pathetic looking plot no farmer would ever want to claim as his. We had a poor crop of miniature buckwheat which was of no use to anybody.

Last week we decided to try again. We re-dug the plot and raked it clean. Planted our seeds and watered. Within 4 days the buckwheat seeds had sprouted in great numbers and have never looked back since. Within a few weeks we will certainly have a great plot of buckwheat with blooms to delight the bees as they scrounge around looking for fall feed. After it can be plowed back into the soil as a fertilizing green crop.  Obviously a lessen to be learned here and not just about buckwheat planting.

Every plant has specific germination and growing requirements. If we want that plant to succeed these conditions must be met. This goes back to the theory of right plant right place, or location, location, location. Growing cultivars that are not suited to your climate and growing conditions is an exercise in futility. You can alter your conditions somewhat but not entirely. Choose those plants that inherently grow in your area. They will be stronger and healthier and perform to their best. There will be less work needed on your part to grow them and less fussing in the garden. There will be less need for pest and fertilizing additives which is better for the environment as well, also less expensive for the gardener.

Nature knows best, so when gardening and choosing your plant material basically observe your natural landscape and just go with the flow!