The Buzz about Bees

bee mrgThe decimation of the bee population is no longer a question, and it’s not just honey bees but bumble bees, which are largely responsible for the pollination of tomato plants. Blamed on pesticides and pesticide residue being brought back to the hive, as well as viruses and parasites, the death of so many bees will be catastrophic to the environment. The fact is, humans cannot live without bees. What can you do to help? Thanks for asking – we have a few ideas.

1. Plant bee friendly flowers and plants.

Every gardener and farmer can help promote healthy bee populations simply by planting a variety of pollen-producing plants and flowers. Weeds are good for bees too, so don’t be too quick to rid your yard of those dandelions. There are many plants honey bees love. Start with this list.

2. Provide bee habitats

While honey bees live in hives, other bees will use any kind of shelter they can find, such as dead trees and underground nests. To help wood-nesting bees, set out bee blocks.

3. STOP USING PESTICIDES

The best thing we can ALL do to help bees – and ourselves – is to stop using pesticides altogether. The delicate balance of the earth’s ecosystem and our own endocrine systems are being damaged by the residues these pesticides leave in plants that bees, animals and humans consume.

 

 

Spring Planting Guide from Barnyard Products

spring plantingSpring has sprung for most of the country, so we’ve put together a Spring planting guide to help you take timely advantage of the pleasant weather.

Bulbs

While most bulbs are planted in the fall, to bloom in the spring, there are several summer bloomers that you can plant now to enjoy later in the summer. Consider dahlias, lilies and gladioli to add some variation and color to your flower garden.

Perennials

Hopefully you’ve spent the fall and winter creating a lovely batch of soil in one of our composters. The better your soil, the better your perennials will thrive. When to plant perennials will depend on your location; some areas are suffering a delayed spring and should wait until the threat of frost is behind them. If you have existing fall perennials that need split or cut back, now is the time to do so. Wait to transplant or divide spring perennials until after they have bloomed.

Vegetables

While most planting guides suggest that tomatoes can be planted as early as May 1, we suggest waiting until after Memorial Day if you live in the East, Northeast or Midwest. Otherwise, you still run the risk of a frost damaging or killing your plant. Along with tomatoes, hold off on eggplants and peppers as well. However, it’s a good time to get squash, cucumbers and beans planted (or started indoors if spring is slow to arrive).

Trees and Bushes

Trees and bushes can now be safely planted in most parts of the U.S. Use compost or fertilized soil for planting, and water regularly during the first few weeks. If you live in an area with an ongoing drought, be sure to water your trees at least weekly.

Our gardening tools make the work of spring planting easier than ever. And when you’re working on projects around the yard and farm, extra towing capacity can make the work easier.

Right now you can save $50 on select DMI hitches by using code 50DMIH at checkout.

 

When In Drought…

lossless-page1-800px-NRCSAR83004_-_Arkansas_(271)(NRCS_Photo_Gallery).tifWhile some of us in the Midwest have been concerned that spring may never come, there are now signs that spring will indeed return to the region.

In the meantime, people in other parts of the country are not only enjoying warmer weather already, but they are also worrying about drought and how to keep crops alive with lower-than-average snowfalls in the mountains. California in particular is facing extreme water shortages.

While it might not seem like much, each person can do his or her part to save water and ensure that farmers get the water they need to help keep us all fed.

Reducing Water Use in the House

When everyone does their part, little things, such as turning off the water while brushing teeth, can make a big difference in water consumption, and installing low-flow toilets and shower heads can make an even bigger contribution to those efforts. While you’re at it, turn off lights when they are not in use, and disconnect your electronics at the end of the day to save power.

Reducing Water in the Yard

It may be time to stop worrying about a lush, green lawn, especially if you live in a water-shortage area. You can landscape your yard so that it uses less water yet is still extremely attractive. In fact, some gardeners have become adept at creating landscapes that are capable of thriving on rainwater alone, even when there is very little of it. Organic Gardening has a great guide for creating a “water-less” landscape.

Reducing Water in the Community

Organizations need to do their part to reduce water consumption, too. There are several steps that organizations can take to reduce water consumption, including monitoring how much water they are using and recycling waste water.

Even if you live in an area that has been inundated with snow, we all will suffer the consequences of drought when food from farmers is less plentiful and food costs go up. Do your part!

When you’re working on projects around the yard and farm, extra towing capacity can make the work easier. Right now you can get $50 off select DMI hitches (47070001, 47070007, and 47090001) by using code 50DMIH at checkout.

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS