Row by Row Episode 46: Improving Pollinators for Garden Harvest

Improving Your Garden Harvest with Pollinators

Pollinators are essential for producing fruits in the vegetable garden. Crops like squash, cucumbers and watermelon will require pollination in order to make fruits. The more pollinators present, the more fruits you will have to harvest. In order to improve your garden harvest, you must understand the importance of providing a healthy and safe environment for pollinators. You should always be cautious when spraying insecticides so that you do not harm the pollinator populations. Even some organic insecticides like pyrethrin and spinosad can be detrimental to pollinators if sprayed during pollination hours. So it’s always a good idea to spray insecticides late in the evenings, when the pollinators are no longer pollinating. You certainly want to avoid harsh chemicals like neonicotinoids. These are systemic insecticides that are inside the plant and will kill whatever eats or pollinates the plant. Neonicotinoids have been known to cause complete colony collapses in bees.

Special Guest: Gary from BEE-LIEVE

Today we had a special guest — Gary from BEE-LIEVE Farms. Gary spends the majority of his day working with bees. Greg and Gary discuss how poor pollination can cause fruits to be distorted or rotten on the ends. They also provide helpful tips to start and maintain a beehive in your garden. According to Gary, the best pollinating insect for a vegetable garden is the European Honeybee. He calls these the “true working bee.” If you do not have access to a beehive, you can increase pollinator presence by planting flowers and other plants that will attract native bees. Planting flowers such as zinnias, sunflowers and cosmos will help because those flowers have easily accessible nectar for the bees to feed. If you do decide to purchase a beehive for your homestead or garden, Gary suggests doing adequate research to educate yourself on how to maintain and care for the bees.

Check out BEE-LIEVE Apiaries & Farm: https://bee-lieveapiaries.com/

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, Travis shows some of his Purple Haze carrots that he recently harvested. Greg tries dipping carrots in honey which he appropriately names “honey carrots.” Greg has rattlesnake pole beans, squash, cucumbers, and potatoes growing well in his garden. Travis explains that his potatoes are growing extremely slow this season. Also, he made a little mistake in his new dream garden. He thought it would be easier to plant his taters at one end of his subplot, but it ended up being the hardest dirt that he has in the new garden. This might cause a small issue because potatoes like soft, well-drained, sandy soil. And this dirt is the complete opposite.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about growing tomatoes in the fall and using drip tape for multiple seasons. Greg explains that growing tomatoes in the fall can be more difficult than growing them in the springtime. However, you can be successful if you plant your tomatoes early and use a disease-resistant variety such as Brickyard or Mountain Glory Also, have a consistent pest control spray program using Neem Oil or B.t. Travis talks about the best drip tape thickness if you intend to use it for multiple seasons. Travis always uses the 8 mil tape over the 15 mil tape because it is just much more flexible and easier to use, especially if you are reusing it for multiple harvesting seasons.

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