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Author Topic: What to plant? Any good places for sourwood?  (Read 1662 times)
Light
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« on: December 28, 2008, 05:32:04 PM »

I am in Western NC and am thinking of planting some flowers to make a good honey. In this region we usually produce popular honey and sourwood in the mountains.  If anyone in western NC has a proven source of sourwood trees and a good place to put 2-5 hives then let me know!  Sometimes I can produce sourwood on my land but I think I'd get more going up higher into the mountains but I'd also like to find a place with some grasslands for spring. 

If I don't move my bees then I am thinking of sowing sweet clover in a garden lot.  What else is good to plant to make a better honey?  Will sowing stuff near the bees be worth the trouble? Also, is there anything I can sow that will bloom really early?

Is it possible to identify the trees in my area before they bloom?  I might find something on my own property that is better.
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2008, 06:14:46 PM »

buckwheat is my new favorite.  matures fast.  little care.  little water.  bees love it.  cheaper than white clover.  dense crop.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
jimmy
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2008, 06:53:49 PM »

I have 3 types of clover panted cuz I like the clear honey it produces.

I have given some thought to buckwheat as a late summer crop. I have not seen any seed in my area and shipping is usually too costly .
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2008, 07:40:53 PM »

i got the farm store to order some for me.  they have a place they get seeds from anyway, so they ordered some in.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
jimmy
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2008, 10:12:44 PM »

Does one have to prepare a seed bed for buckwheat? Where I live we have an aggressive growing grass in the summer called  Bahia Grass. I have to have it bushoged at least twice in the summer months.It is stemy and reseeds itself every year. Do you have to replant the buckwheat every year?


Light : I have never heard of sourwood ,what is it?
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Light
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 01:42:53 AM »

Sourwood is a tree that only grows in Appalachian mountains/eastern usa.  Good sourwood is probably my favorite honey but difficult to get. I also like blackberry. Pure sourwood is usually lighter in color but sometimes amber honeys with  sourwood mic are better then lighter.  The lightest might have more locust.

I've read on here that Thyme is good.  Never tried it. I wonder if I could plant enough of that to make a taste difference.
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MrILoveTheAnts
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 01:55:24 AM »

It is possible to ID trees before they bloom, but it's so much easier knowing what the flower, seeds, and fruit look like.

I recommend:

Borage, which is the most prolific annual I've ever seen. It actually lives less than a year and replaces itself in generations. Blooms in 6 weeks. And comes back every spring. Has stiff thorny hairs on old leaves.

Butterfly Weed, (Asclepias, not butterfly Bush) Bees do like Butterfly Bush but the flowers are a bit to deep for them. So you'd need a hedge of Butterfly Bush to get their attention. Butterfly Weed, Asclepias, is native to the US, and more bees go after it per flowers. It's also the host plant to the Monarch Butterfly. Bees tend to get bits of the flowers stuck on their legs though.
Asclepias tuberosa has a very intense orange flower.

Liatris (Also called Blazing Star, or Gay Feather) is a good wildflower you can usually buy in garden stores. Bulbs are best becuase the plant is a biannual. I've never really been able to keep these plants alive more than two years though, But I've been planting them like crazy. Hopefully I'll get a nice population going. The bees are nuts for them. Birds such as the Gold Finch go for the seeds too. A little expensive if you're just planting seeds somewhere though.

Sunflowers, can't go wrong planting assorted varieties of these, in assorted heights and colors.
I don't know if they like Black Eye'd Susan but I know bees enjoy the related Sneezing weed. They like Cone flowers too but they're not that much of a draw.
All of these make good bird seed too for Gold Finches.

Joe Pye Weed was an amazing perennial. Dying back to the ground every year, it actually grows 4 to 7 feet tall (or more) and has sheets of sweet smelling flowers. I had a single plant that was covered in bees last year. You can buy a dwarf variety in garden stores but much larger ones are available. Bone Set is a related plant that's smaller and has white flowers. I don't know if bees like that one but it's worth a try.
Joe Pye Weed

Clethra alnifolia is a wonderful shrub. Has the BEST fragrance I've ever smelled from a plant. But it tends to get way to much attention from our native bees. This thing really brings out the rarely seen Scoliid wasps and dozens of others you wouldn't have known existed.

Goldenrod is probably the best fall crop you can plant. Very common road side weed, that's humorously being sold in garden stores now. It sends up suckers every year and reseeds a wide area.

Asters are also great too.

You can always go the orchard rough and plant any number of spring flowering plants. Just make sure they have enough cold hours so they don't bloom to early in the year. An early frost can kill the blooms.
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Cindi
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2008, 01:15:11 PM »

Light, we have some excellent threads in the gardening forum that will show some beautiful pictures of flowers we grow for the bees.  Go there and you will see many pictures, information and so on.  It is an excellent forum to peruse when you have the time.  My favourite flowers that I plant here en masse for my bees are:  Do a search for each of the below listed flowers on our forum and you will see the pictures, they are pretty nice looking.

Borage
Phacelia Tanacetifolia
Sea Holly
Anise Hyssop
Anise Anisata
Sunflower
Figwort (incredible for the bees, not much of a flower to look at, but boy oh boy!!!, the bees sure are in love with it)
Cleome
Gaillardia
Impatiens capensis

Check it out.  Have a wonderful and most awesome day, great life and health.  Cindi


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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2008, 08:08:35 PM »

hey, i just found out that my feed store carries buckwheat.  i won't have to order it from the farm store this year!! 

cindi, i never planted the rest of the borage, so it will go in this spring.  make sure you take starts and seeds when you move!!!!
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Cindi
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2008, 12:02:29 PM »

hey, i just found out that my feed store carries buckwheat.  i won't have to order it from the farm store this year!! 
cindi, i never planted the rest of the borage, so it will go in this spring.  make sure you take starts and seeds when you move!!!!

Oh Kathy, a whole new ball of worms......plant for buckwheat for surely. OK.....I added some of my thoughts to this thread, but it wound up being too long and it was kind of off-topic to the original data that Light started it with, so I have to make a new thread, I hijacked this thread too badly and that would not be a great thing, me thinks.....go to the topic I made for you entitled, "Kathy, borage and so on"

Have a wonderful and most awesome day, love and live life well, health.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
vabeeguy
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2009, 07:55:30 AM »

Hey Light,
         If you know anyone over in Buffalo Cove area you'll have great luck. That shouldn't be a far drive for you. My grandfather has pasted away now, but we used to have some of the finest sourwood honey I have ever tasted and great yeilds.
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LocustHoney
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2009, 12:53:17 PM »

What size or area do you sow your buckwheat in for it to make a difference in your honey flow??
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WhipCityBeeMan
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2009, 04:45:23 PM »

Sourwood does not only grow in the Appalachians.  It only grows there as gar as its native range is concerned.  I live in MA near a park and there are several Sourwoods there, not enough to make any appreciable honey crop but I did want to clarify that they can grow in many areas. 

Two incredible shrubs are Summersweet and Sweetspire (Clethera alnifolia and Itea virginicia).  Both have incredible fragrance and bees love them. 
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