Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pecans and Bees

Interesting articles that I have read lately about bees and the "CCD" (colony collapse disorder -aka: nobody knows what's going on) and in two articles people blasted commercial pecan growers for trucking around the bees. FYI - pecans are wind pollinated, not bee pollinated so although other nuts and fruits and veggies are dependent on bees, pecans are not. That being said, I think we are seeing the results of long years of "artificial farming" where large corporate "farms" are so interested in profits that they have caused immeasurable damage to the environment and the consumers' health all for the sake of the dollar. Just another wake-up call to revert back to God's natural way of doing things rather than man's greedy way. We are seriously considering clover as a ground cover in the orchard (probably a white/crimson mix of annual and perennial as recommended by Oklahoma extension service and depending on the availability of local seed) because it is not only good for the soil but encourages beneficial insects like ladybugs and caterpillars. That being said, we really want to have hives not only for the clover and any honey they might produce but also to see if honey bees will do any better here than in other places since they are getting so scarce. It means more management on our side to make sure that any chemicals we do have to use, including fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides are "non-toxic" and as natural and organic as possible, which we would do even without bees. No chemicals? Not sure but we definitely will be very selective in both the choice of chemicals and their quantity if it becomes a necessity. We have now chosen 7 varieties whereas most new orchards are using 2 or 3 new varieties. We really feel that what we might give up in "mammoth size" is more than offset by having more native varieties that do not require so much chemical treatment and the cross-pollination of these trees is so much more natural than the "forced" ones in large orchards. (Photo above by Russ Creech)

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