Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Ecology of the Farm

We are always fascinated by the new things that pop up around us.  Whether it is plants, insects or animals, we love to see what natives decide to call the farm home each season.  This year we have seen an inordinate number of bee species, they must be the fittest as they survived our harsh winter and are flourishing.

This morning I saw what appeared to be a small ant hill emerge in the garden.  Then I saw a green head poking out of it, and sinking back in each time it saw me.  B thinking it was a worm and being forever inquisitive decided to knock the hill down and see it closer up.  When that did not work, he took a small shovel to dig a little deeper finding these Metallic Green Bees.

After a little research we found out that they live in smallish colonies and are amazing pollinators in the garden.  Since they have very short tongues, they focus on plants that have clusters of flowers with an open architecture.  That must be why they decided to set up shop here.  This year we are experimenting with several new types of beans.  Though our green beans and broad beans are not flowering yet, a few others are. The above photo is of our row of chickpeas.  This ferny plant is gorgeous and we have just spotted our first little pod forming!

Keeping in line with the clusters of flowers that the Metallic Green Bees prefer, our first go at fava beans is treating us to an amazing square stemmed plant.

Of course the sugar snap peas are another grouping of flowers that are popular right now.  We always do our best to live along side the ecology on the farm.  These little green bees are not aggressive and we do not see any reason to rid ourselves of an important pollinator.  However, all bets are off if any of those nasty ground wasps re-appear this summer!

By the way!  We have named the farm and started its own facebook page.  Please 'like' Aisling SmallHolding-ASH   It is a place where we are sharing farm happenings.  Whether you live near or far, we hope it becomes a collective of ideas.  A place where you can share your recipes or creations from your own gardens or with the locally grown produce that you pick up.

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