Bees, Hemp, & Cannabis

Bees play a significant role in the ecosystem, as bee populations continue to fall, concern grows about what implications the loss of pollinators will have om our ecosystem.

Have you seen the recent videos or read the latest articles about honeybees and cannabis? The first question that comes to mind do bees pollinate cannabis? There is very little research available about how honeybees interact with the cannabis plant that contains THC levels sufficiently potent to be deemed medical or recreational use quality. Only one known scholarly article exists so far (Dalio, J.S., 2012). The study, which took place in India, point that bees see cannabis plants as a source of protein but usually only visit the male plants during a pollen shortage. You can spot the bees visiting the plant but the scent that the plant emanates the bees don’t seem to enjoy, nor the plant has bright coloring that bees are attracted too. Cannabis is mostly pollinated by the wind, and so it has not needed to develop colors and scents to attract pollinators like the honeybee. Sometimes a male cannabis plant will produce some pollen, which the bee may take home to the hive, but the bee is mainly seeking plants with nectar.

On the other hand, the flowering plant, hemp bees are attractive to it. Industrial hemp could be the solution to help the bee population.

A recent study, at Colorado State University suggests industrial hemp could be a saving grace for sustaining the bee population. Because bees pollinate hemp, researchers are hopeful bee populations will begin to increase with hemp production. Hemp does not produce nectar, but hemp’s impact on bees is valuable because the crop produces a large amount of pollen. When other crops are not available, bees can pollinate hemp. Ultimately, pollination is the process that makes food production possible.

So, if you’re looking for ways to help the bees, you can start by learning about your state’s personal cultivation laws and read several gardening tip blogs on how to attract bees to your yard. 

Bee house DIY gardening

Gardening with Bees

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Nature’s Cold and Flu Remedy

The cold and flu season are among us, a natural way to fight this ugly season is with elderberries! Elderberry syrup is becoming popular to treat the cold and flu, but it has been around for thousands of years. Black elderberries are small berries that come from the elder tree native to North America and Europe. Some studies have shown that taking elderberry syrup in the early stages of the flu can reduce the duration of illness by as 2 to 4 days. You can find the syrup at several drug stores or any natural organic store. You can also make your own for a lot less, just make sure you follow the directions and use organic ingredients. During the winter season I have this stocked in my fridge for myself and the family. Every day the kids and I take a dose to just keep our immune system up and to fight any nasty cold that lurks among us.  Below is the recipe that I was given from a local organic market, which has worked for my family.

 

Elderberry Syrup Recipe:

2/3 cup dried elderberries

31/2 cups water

2 tablespoon fresh or dried ginger root

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

½ teaspoon ground clove

1 cup honey

 

In a medium saucepan combine water and all ingredients except the honey. (place honey aside until the end) Bring to a boil and cover with lid cracked so steam can be released and turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer your ingredients for 45 minutes and then let cool. Pour entire cool content through a strainer or cheesecloth into a glass jar. After most of the liquid has strained through into the jar take a spoon to mash the berries to release more liquid into the jar, be careful because elderberries can stain your hands or countertops. When your liquid is cooled add your cup of honey and stir until dissolved. This recipe will make about 16 ounces so using a one-pint mason jar is preferred.  Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.

 

Dose suggestions for adults: ½ to 1 tablespoon daily as preventive. If the flu does strike take above amount 3-4 times a day.

Dose suggestions for children: ½ to 1 teaspoon daily as preventive. If the flu strikes, take amount every 3-4 hours until symptoms decrease.

Children under 1 should not take and if pregnant or breastfeeding consult doctor first.

If you have use or make the syrup, please comment! Love to hear!

 

Frosty Fern

Frosty Ferns have been popping up at retailers and at local garden shops this holiday season. Many that I found this season did not have care instructions whatsoever, creating a questionable way to take care of this unique plant. These are exceptional plants that will look great in your home or garden year-round. Here are a few gardening tips you should know about this luscious new holiday houseplant.

Did you know that these plants are not related to ferns, at least, Frosty ferns are spike mosses. Frosty ferns and other spike mosses are the exceptions to the rule and you’ll probably need to water thoroughly every 2-3 days. If the soil is starting to feel a little dry, it’s time to water. If the whole plant feels lighter than usual, it’s also probably time to water. If your plant starts to wilt, water immediately.

Frosty Ferns need drainage in other words, get it out of that god-awful red cellophane wrapper so that water won’t sit and rot the roots of the plant. Instead, place the pot on a saucer or use a decorative pot instead, dumping any excess water that puddles up. This doesn’t mean you should let the soil dry out, though, because they like it nice and moist. It can tolerate soggy soil outdoors, but not indoors – especially since hard minerals can accumulate in the soil.

Lighting is a must they like it bright but shaded from the sun. Bright Indirect Light is the kind of light that most houseplants crave; bright enough to comfortably read a book, but not so bright that it hurts your eyes. This plant also needs humidity.

Are these plants poisonous to your feline friends? they are not considered toxic and are unlikely to cause permanent or serious damage if your feline friend nibbles them. The popular true ferns include Boston, maidenhair, button, rabbit’s foot, bird’s nest and stag horn can be toxic to your little feline friends!

Houses are dry places, especially during winter. These humidity-loving plants can quickly turn crispy and brown in a heated home, but you can combat dry air in several ways. Spray the plant a few times a day with water, using a mister from the cosmetics aisle. This is great boredom buster if the plant is on your office desk. Growing it on a water-filled tray of pebbles is another option, but it works better in the company of other plants. If you decide to add this fern into your flower garden instead of inside the home it will happily occupy a moist and shady spot in your garden.

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DIY Pumpkin Succulents

Dress up your table setting for Thanksgiving with floral pumpkin décor! And if you’re looking for a fun way to dress up your plants,  why not create have a pumpkin succulent center piece that will be the social spot light on your table! Pumpkin succulents are a unique way to display your favorite succulent variety this fall season. Pumpkin succulent planters can be personalized with your favorite design on the outside by adding paint & glitter or leaving it plain and focusing the colors with your succulents.

 

What you’ll need:

Foam pumpkin

Stencil

Scissors

Tape

Pencil

Permanent marker

Paint brush

Decoupage

Glitter

Glitter setting spray

Hot crafting knife (or regular knife)

Succulent potting mix

Moss

Variety of succulents

If you decide to paint or stencil a fall design on the outside of the pumpkin, then the above list is a helpful way to get you started.  Start by cutting a hole in the top of the pumpkin with a heated craft knife. Heated craft knives are sold at most craft stores and will make this step much easier. If you don’t have access to one, a regular knife will work, it will just take more time to cut through the plastic and foam. The size of the hole you cut depends on how many succulents you want to plant. In general, it’s safe to remove most of the top of the pumpkin. If it ends up being too big, you can always add more moss or succulents. Fill the pumpkin with potting soil about ¾ that is made for succulents or cacti. Succulent care best practices include using soil that is coarse and drains well. Place moss around the rim of the pumpkin so it hangs over the sides. You can use multiple types and colors of moss if you want to add more texture or keep it simple with just one variety. Next fill the pumpkin with succulents that you can find at any garden store.

These pumpkin succulent displays can be placed in your house all season long. Place it in the entryway to welcome the fall season or arrange it on your Thanksgiving dinner table as a unique centerpiece.

Pair your white pumpkin succulent garden with other fall-colored pumpkins and gourds to complete the look! You can also use real pumpkins as well, these will last about 2 to 3 weeks.

Cinnamon & Sugar Pumpkin Seeds Snack

Don’t throw away the seeds when you carve pumpkins this year! Save them and make this recipe for the perfect sweet and salty fall snack! Vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free!  It’s pumpkin season and the best part of fall is creating yummy treats with left over pumpkin seeds from your Halloween Jack-o-lantern!  It can be a lot of work, but trust me when I tell you that taking the time to save the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds is so worth it! Especially if you decide to make these Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds! This recipe only has 6 ingredients, is super easy to toss together, and results is the perfect sweet and salty fall snack!

First, Remove the seeds from the pumpkins and rinse thoroughly & make sure they are dry too, to help with this step: Spread the seeds on the baking sheet in one, even layer and let sit for 24 hours. At the 12 hour mark, change the damp paper towels for dry ones and stir every now and then!

Second, once the seeds are completely dry, you are ready to make these roasted pumpkin seeds! Simply melt the coconut oil or butter in a microwave safe dish. Mix in vanilla and stir in the pumpkin seeds, making sure the seeds are evenly coated with the mixture! *try to do this twice to make sure the seeds are mixed well!

Finally, Baking!  A little helpful tip, be very careful not to over-bake these Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds! When they start to brown ever-so-slightly they are done.

Ingredients

3 cups pumpkin seeds dried for at least 24 hours

3 TBS coconut oil or butter

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

4 TBS granulated sugar*

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

To make the pumpkin seeds:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Very lightly grease a large baking pan, set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Melt coconut oil or butter in a large microwave safe bowl or on the stovetop in a 4-quart pot.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Mix in pumpkin seeds until they are all evenly coated.

Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin seeds and mix until all they are evenly coated.

Spread pumpkin seeds on your prepared baking pan in single layer.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until seeds begin to brown.

To test  remove a few seeds from the pan and let sit on the counter to cool. If they harden up the seeds are done. If they remain soft, return to the oven, checking them after 5 minutes. Continue baking in 5 minute intervals until done.

Once seeds are done, transfer them from the warm pan to another pan lined with parchment paper to let cool & enjoy!

If you have a fun recipe with pumpkin seeds please share in the comments!

 

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