3 Tips for Novice Gardeners Who Want to Help Bees

3 Tips for Novice Gardeners Who Want to Help Bees by Christy Erickson

If you want to start a home garden to help the bees but don’t have a green thumb or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening to know whether you have a green thumb, don’t lose hope.

Even novice gardeners can grow some flowers and vegetables and help bees and other pollinators thrive. It’s more important now than ever before for you to take a leap into gardening because bee populations are declining, and we rely on bees for pollinating about one-third of all our food. Simply put, without bees and other pollinators, global food production would take a devastating hit. Our three tips for novice gardeners will help you develop a green thumb and, more importantly, protect bees in your backyard.

1. Spend Time Preparing the Soil

If you have not gardened successfully in the past, spend time learning gardening dos and don’ts. For instance: preparing your soil for new flowers and vegetables is essential because a healthy garden results from healthy soil. It’s also wise to determine the pH of your soil using a soil testing kit from your local home improvement store or nursery. Bulbs typically need a pH balance between six and seven, so if yours is at a different level, talk with the experts at the store or nursery about how to make corrections by adding minerals such as limestone or lime sulfur. Beware of certain products that could be toxic to bees when making pH adjustments to your soil; by itself, sulfur is highly toxic to bees, yet lime sulfur products are safe for bees.

2. Ensure Your Garden Materials are Bee Safe

Sadly, much of what we do to help bees actually is responsible for killing them.

According to the Huffington Post, one report shows that 54% of regularly purchased so-called bee-friendly plants from chain home improvement stores contain neonicotinoid pesticides. The European Union has banned these pesticides on flowering crops, but they continue to be used and sold in the United States. You should look at the garden products and materials you have at home and immediately stop using those that contain neonicotinoids: the product labels will contain acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam as active ingredients.

The better bet is to start your garden with products that you know are organic and bee safe. You can do so by purchasing organic plant starts or growing plants from untreated seeds in organic potting soil. Then, avoid using soil, pesticides, and fertilizers that contain neonicotinoids and other ingredients that are toxic to bees. One trick is to attract beneficial insects that prey on pests in your garden by planting specific flowers and herbs. If you’re not sure which plants will attract beneficial insects, check out this post by Permaculture Research Institute. If you absolutely cannot get rid of pests without other interventions, use insecticidal soaps or oils or other eco-friendly pest control products. (Tip: Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford shares tips for making your own insecticidal soap.)

3. Choose Plants that are Easy to Grow and that Attract Bees

Novice gardeners won’t do much to help bees if they try to grow plants that are better suited to people with extremely green thumbs. You will have a much more successful garden and help bees thrive if you choose plants that are easy to grow and that bees love.

For example, lavender, black-eyed Susans, daylilies, and Spiraea, are easy plants that attract bees and provide them with plenty of pollen and nectar. If you want to plant an edible garden, there are some vegetables and herbs that are more attractive to bees than others, including artichoke, beans, cucumbers, peas, squash, basil, low-growing clover, mint, rosemary, and oregano.

Novice gardeners can do a great deal to help bees by doing their best to start a backyard garden. You should spend time preparing the soil, avoid garden materials that are toxic to bees, and choose plants that are easy to grow and that attract bees.

Image via Pixabay by Antranias

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Fresh Utah Apricots are ON today at the Farmer’s Market, happy Bday to Vman!

Hey #ParkCity head on down to the Farmer’s Market, we have fresh Utah apricots today. Happy 49th birthday to Vman, our founder and market manager! ❤

apricots1 copy vman bday copy

Is it Possible to have Too Much Farmer’s Market Produce? By Laurel Crim-Bartmess

Is it Possible to have Too Much Farmer’s Market Produce?
By Laurel Crim-Bartmess

I found Brother’s Marvin 79, and Nolan 68, one August afternoon in their tiny farm
stand at the Park City Farmer’s Market and since then, eating this summer has been
glorious.

My relationship with the Birt brothers started innocently enough at the end of
my shopping trip that day. Hand’s full, lugging my bounty back to the car I came to a full
stop….. to look just a little bit more. Maybe it was the beauty of their produce that caught
my eye? Those tiny tomatoes and raspberries lined up in pressed cardboard cups, green beans bundled up neatly, and boxes of cucumbers smiling up at me? Or maybe it was two quiet old-timer’s? Both men in red baseball caps, one in baby blue coveralls that no one wears anymore standing in front of their hard work- that caused me to set down my bags of produce in front of their stand and ask myself this “Is it really possible to have too much market produce?”

“These are really good.” said Nolan as he pointed to the Old Fashion cucumbers.
“Take this home and try it.” he said, as he handed me an Armenian cucumber. How could I refuse free food from these two? So there I stood, chatting about farming, popping random varieties of tomatoes into my mouth, knowing I had found my farmers and my farm. They’re quiet, generous, proud men happy to share what they love with the rest of us and it was there that they suggested I try a little orange tomato known aptly by the name Sun Sugar tomatoes that I instantly fell hard for, proclaiming “This it the best thing I have ever tasted!” to Marvin, Nolan and anyone standing nearby.

I’ve since found out that Marvin and Nolan are organic farmers and always have
been. Interestingly enough, they’re organic because their family farm was too poor to afford pesticides when they were introduced and all the rage in the mid 1940’s. The costly price of pesticides resulted in their family continuing to farm just as they always had farmed: seeds, sunshine, soil, water, and hard work. Resulting in what I think is magic and what my daughter refers to as “little bites of heaven.” Cucumbers with skin you don’t need to peel, a host of baby tomatoes that may change your life forever, green beans that make me want to sit all afternoon in a rocking chair snapping off ends into a bowl, raspberries that we finish before we get home and peppers, peppers, peppers.

So no, no it’s not possible this time of year to have too much produce from the Park
City Farmer’s Market, especially when you get to know fifth generation farmers like Marvin and Nolan Birt. A glorious example of my hope for how food is grown, how food should taste and what I had hoped to find while shopping outside this summer in Park City. Below is a simple Farmer’s Market salad that my family and I cannot stop eating. Make, eat as much as possible, enjoy, and repeat. Cheers.

Marvin's Garden Park City Farmer's Market

Cucumber, Corn, and Sun Sugar Tomato Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:
Note: it’s nice to have all three ingredients cut roughly the same size. If the cucumbers are too big, they can overpower the other 2 ingredients.

1 cup diced (the size of corn kernels), unpeeled cucumbers (I use Marvin’s Old Fashion
cucumbers but any will do).

1 cup halved or quartered Sun Sugar tomatoes

1 cup fresh corn kernels

Dressing:

2 t olive oil

2 t balsamic vinegar

Seasoning:

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large bowl combine cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn. In same bowl drizzle
2 t olive oil and 2 t balsamic vinegar around the glass sides of bowl. Combine
until vegetables are coated with dressing. Season the salad with a generous
pinch of salt and a reserved pinch of pepper. Mix, taste, and adjust seasoning if
necessary. It’s likely that you will need to add more salt a bit at a time until the
flavors of the salad come together.

Marvin's Gardens Park City Farmers Market

Park City Farmer’s Market going strong!

If you haven’t stopped by this year, you’re definitely missing out! The Park City Farmer’s Market is today and going strong! Lots of amazing vendors and the freshest local goods and produce are available. Stop by today, we’re open noon till 6pm at The Canyons Resort!

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Park City Farmer’s Market 15 YEARS Strong!

Looking for some farm fresh food? The Park City Farmers Market has been going strong for the last 15 years. Local Baker and Farmers Market manager Volker Ritzinberg introduces us to the market, and explains why this farmers market stands out from the rest. The Park City Farmers market is held at Canyons Resort every Wed from 12-6 during the summer and fall growing and harvest months. Come check it out!

KEEP CALM Park City, Utah Farmer’s Market is TODAY

Hey Park City, don’t forget TODAY is Farmer’s Market day, we’re open till 6pm but don’t waste another minute to get here! You don’t want to miss all the awesome local goods Utah has to offer, stop by the Canyons Resort parking lot and stock up on your weekly supply! Hang out, grab some lunch, and check out all your Utah local vendors! ❤ See you there!

Keep Calm and go to the Farmers Market

 

Farmer’s Market September 18, 2013!

Happy Hump day! More importantly, happy Farmer’s Market day at The Canyons Resort! Don’t forget to swing by, we are open until 6pm for all your local fresh veggies, fruits, local food and gift vendors! See you there! 😀

Farmers Market at The Canyons Resort