Farming for bees

This year once-again, we’ll be farming for bees. Last year I spent a good bit of the early summer doing research on the naturally occurring plant material on our farm and wrote about Bees and Farming. We’ll be planting about 45 acres in total.

The large fields will be mostly heirloom soy with a few acres of sunflower in the middle and a border of red and white clover.

Deer staring at camera on chesterhaven beach farm

Perhaps the deer won’t notice?! They seem to have developed quite a taste for Sunflower. In my mind, I am imagining how beautiful a large meadow of wildflowers will look when they start blooming late this spring. If only the weather would cooperate.

Billy Rhodes planting our fields on chesterhaven beach farm

We have much to do in the fields. Aside from quite a few more Lavender plants, we are  adding these bee-loved plants: Artichokes, Salvia Greggi, Blackberry, Blueberry, Germander, Creeping and Flowering Thyme, Swamp Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Smooth Blue Aster, New England Aster, Partridge Pea, Oxeye Daisy, Lance-leaved Coreopsis, Plain Coreopsis, Showy Tick-trefoil, Purple Coneflower, Wild Blue Lupine, Wild Bergamot, Beardtongue, Blackeyed Susan and Bee Balm. Stay tuned.

milkweed field

If you want to help pollinators in your area, grow a pollinator garden this spring. This plant list will help you figure out the best plant material for your area. This list will help you understand the native plants recommended for various purposes.

This booklet outlines farming for bees providing guidelines for native bee habitat on farms.

farming for bees and handplanting seeds on chesterhaven beach farm

Each year consulting ecologist Jeff Wolinski visits our farm with a hand-blended collection of seeds that he feel will thrive. He selects seeds he feel will take root and naturalize. Jeff assigns names sections of the farm. He visits a few more times to see that everything is taking root. This has been a years-long process, and though it’s like a box of chocolates (we never know what we’re going to get.


In farming, it’s always about the possibilities.

About the Author


Kara waxes about the bees, creates and tests recipes with her friend Joyce, and does her best to share what she’s learned and continues to learn about the bees, honey, ingredients we use and more.

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