Farmers’ lack of bees might be solved by going wild

“The findings have important implications for agricultural and land-use policies worldwide, said study leader Lucas A. Garibaldi, an agricultural scientist at the National University of Rio Negro in Argentina: Unless habitats for wild insects are protected and nurtured, farmers around the world could face a future of drastically lower yields.

Scientists have long warned that plowing landscapes into vast, single-crop fields and orchards eliminates the range of soil, wildflowers and other vegetation that is crucial to support multiple species of wild pollinators, including bees, flies, beetles and butterflies. As these insect populations have dwindled, farmers have resorted to using rented interlopers, generally Apis mellifera, during flowering season.

“Honeybees cannot replace the service wild bees provide,” Garibaldi said. “Biodiversity in agricultural landscapes matters and can help increase production.”

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The Three Sisters – or is it Four?

Excellent article/excerpt on permaculture plant guilds by Toby Hemenway.  This excerpt comes from the author’s book Gaia’s Garden.

Permaculture in Practice

Great video about permaculture.  This is what it says at, “This video, whose aim is to inspire people to start their own permaculture projects, shows how permaculture is practiced in four very different settings: a backyard garden, an urban community garden, a co-op restaurant garden, and a small farm.”

Organic Gardening Distance Learning Course

Cornell University is offering online courses on organic gardening and a variety of other topics like permaculture design, planning and designing sustainable gardening programs, and even botanical illustration.  Class prices vary with the class on organic gardening listed as $300.00 for a seven week course (including one week of introduction).  Next class starts at the end of March.

Invite Beneficial Insects in with Flowers

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has a short and pretty article on attracting beneficial insects to your garden.

Natural Insect Control

Good article from Mother Earth News on natural insect control; you can Google “integrated pest management” for more info. Chances are, between weeds and flowers, you already have a good start!

Picking Apples, Choosing Varieties & Pruning with Patrick Whitefield

Permaculture Magazine writes: “Patrick Whitefield takes us on a seasonal journey through his shared apple orchard describing his harvests, his favourite varieties and giving his top pruning tips for healthy trees with good yields.”