Seed Mixtures Support Bees

The mass dying of bees in central Europe and in many other parts of the world is not only a problem for beekeepers every year but a severe danger for the whole ecosystem. Many reasons are given for this phenomenon, like parasites, viruses, foulbrood or pesticides, but hardly any solution has been found, yet.

This may now change as the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences in Bern, Switzerland (HAFL), developed special seed mixtures with plants providing bees with enough nutrients in difficult periods. The project was supported by apisuisse, the Inforama Rütli, the farmers’ associations of Bern and Switzerland and fenaco/UFA-Samen.

Bees are especially in trouble finding food when their main sources like rapeseed, dandelion and fruit are withered and before the forests supply them with “food”. The meadows growing from the Swiss seed mixtures help the bees to be nourished in these critical times – helping them to survive with positive effects on their development, health and defense constitution.

The seed mixtures were tested and compared to conventional meadows with wild herbs: five times more honeybees and two to three times more wild bees approached the Swiss meadow! Another advantage is that the seeds easily grow on all kinds of soil, either poor or rich.

 Further Information: hafl.bfh.ch

 

Making Gardening an Experience for Kids – With the Right Tools

In a time, in which children are more tempted to sit at home and play video games instead of spending their free time outside, parents sometimes need incentives to get their kids interested in what nature has to offer. Gardening tools and even growing equipment for our youngest are becoming more and more popular.

The German nursery garden BKN Strobel for example just launched a campaign named “Ich bin im Garten” (I’m in the Garden) where children can grow their own little plants in colorful pots. The attached labels have QR-Codes so they can look up information about their plants on a special website.

The German company Romberg, which specializes in plant growing and hobby gardening products offers a miniature greenhouse complete with seeds and substratum which can be kept inside the house. It comes together with an easy illustrated instructional book.

The Finnish tool producer Fiskars also has its own collection for kids. My First Fiskars “Boxi” consists of a shovel, a rake, a spade and a brush, each designed for small hands and with vibrant colors, for helping the adults playfully with the  duties in the garden.

Every child is gifted with a great sense of curiosity and openness towards natural things. It is important for them to develop a healthy relationship towards Mother Nature and that we teach them from an early age on what a fun activity it can be to cultivate plants and handling natural products outside. With the right tools, materials and appropriate instructions gardening is fun and an educational experience for our youngest.

Further Information: bkn.de

Romberg: protects plants in severe winter

Some plants which in summer transform garden or balcony into a green paradise require a special winter protection to survive outside.

Azalea, Camellia, some grasses but also some “hardy” ornamental plants can suffer from frost and severe winds and especially from heavy changes of temperatures. In particular, plants in pots and tubs are exposed to frost and should be protected in time with membranes, hoods or special mats to prevent them from freezing. Romberg offers various systems for the protection of plants in the winter.

Further information: romberg.de