As we continue to work and grow during a drought, it’s important to understand just how many other things are affected by the lack of rain. The farm is able to irrigate with city water, but because irrigating can be time consuming, we are focusing our energy on the vegetable fields and not spending as much time irrigating places that wouldn’t benefit the crops. As a result, there are some things that are seeing consequences of the drought.
Our flower garden, which has been producing many amazing blooms, may have a shorter season this year. Our berries, both blueberries and raspberries, are also struggling to produce fruit like they do in a typical season. The weeds and native plants that grow all around the farm and exist in the wild are definitely not producing as many blooms and are therefore not providing enough pollen and nectar for honey bees.
Arthur Johnson, CSA member and resident beekeeper, recently observed that some of his hives are struggling to find enough food. If bees can’t find food, they can’t produce honey and may not survive the winter. Arthur has made the decision to not harvest any honey this year but will instead take the remaining honey from last year to feed his bees and help them prepare for the winter. Some of his more “aggressive” hives are doing better. This is because they are willing to fly further to get food and willing to put up more of a “fight” to get what they need. It must be disappointing to not get a harvest this season, but the health and survival of the bees remain of utmost importance.
We are so lucky to have Arthur’s hives here at Stearns and support any decision he makes for the bees. While I certainly hope that next season is better, it’s clear that there will be more droughts in our future. This is just another reason to grow native plants that provide pollen and nectar for our bees!
Until next time,