It’s a big job, getting all our tomatoes ready to grow; first we pull the WallO’ Waters off them, then weed each and mulch heavily. Then each gets a steel T-post and heavy duty wire cage. Because we have more than 100 tomatoes in the main garden, that gets to be a BIG job, taking several days. But finally it’s all done and Will is continuing on to mulch the rest of the garden. After that, there’s no more weeding all summer. That’s a huge blessing, for sure!
We have planted the heirloom Native corn, Bear Island Chippewa, in the main garden and Will’s Seneca Sunrise up in the berry patch as well as in the central garden. All are doing very well and will be “knee high by the Fourth of July” for sure.
Talking to a lot of people at different events, I keep hearing about how we’ll starve because of the decline in honeybees. Yes, I’m concerned about just why we’re losing them. (Chemicals? GMO crops? Climate change? Disease? Or a combination?) But I sure don’t worry about starving because of this possible loss. After all, honeybees are not native critters and Indians grew crops well before Europeans with honeybees entered North America. First off, crops such as corn are wind-pollinated, not insect-pollinated. Most importantly, there are hundreds of other insect pollinators besides honeybees. A great example was put before me this morning on my trip to the garden.
I have a big rugosa rose on the edge of our plum/cherry orchard, between the house and garden. The flowers are just opening and in the center of each one was a mass of activity. Mason bees, wasps and small flies clustered in the center of each bloom, busily gathering pollen. Will and I watched one mason bee dancing about for 15 minutes, gathering until its leg sacks were bulging full of pollen. Then he flew to a nearby flower and began again.
And these critters don’t just pollinate roses; we’ve seen them in our fruit trees, squash, pumpkins, and other vegetable crops. So let’s try to save the honeybees but don’t do it out of fear of starvation but for the love of these enterprising critters. — Jackie