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How to Grow Wildflowers July 31 2017

How To Grow Wildflowers Instructions

How to Grow Wildflowers

Wildflowers are joyful reminders of the beauty that can be found in nature. Bringing wildflowers to your home is a great way to bring happiness or just add some visual appeal to your space. It's a bonus, but a vital bonus that growing wildflowers helps the bees and other pollinators in the process. Wildflowers can be grown from seeds or seed balls, such as Seedles. Seedles are fun sized seed balls that makes growing wildflowers simpler than ever. Essentially, just place them in a sunny, non-weedy environment, add water and you’ll have brilliant wildflowers growing at your home!

Growing wildflowers does take time and patience, but planting wildflowers can be simple if a few steps are followed:

Find a good location to plant

Picking a good spot to sow the seeds is probably one of the most important steps to successfully growing wildflowers. Find a spot with good sun and good drainage. It is recommended to find a spot that gets at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day, but more sun is better. This means that the best area might not be right next to houses or barns.

Determine the best flower(s) to plant

Picking a flower or mixture that will grow in your space is essential.  Make sure you pick flowers that are native to your region and can grow in the space you have selected. This means taking into consideration sunlight, temperature, and soil in the area.

Other considerations should be picking seeds that are GMO-free and do not contain neonicotinoids. Most wildflower seeds are not certified organic, but it is important to get your seeds from reputable distributors to ensure the highest quality of our product. All Seedles do not contain neonicotinoids, are GMO-free and are native to that region.

Determine the best time to plant

The optimum planting time depends upon many factors like climate and average rainfall. Generally, the best times to plant wildflower seeds are just after the final winter frost (early spring) or in the late fall at least 10 weeks before the first frost. In nature, many wildflower seeds drop in the fall months before the rain and then wildflower seeds remain dormant until they are sufficiently watered and outside temperatures have warmed enough for germination.

In colder climates fall plantings can be done, but spring or early summer seeding is best. For a fall planting in a colder climate, it is recommended to plant 10 weeks before the first frost, to give them time to establish to survive the winter. Spring plantings should be done as soon as the risk of frost is gone and the planting area can be worked. Furthermore, early summer plantings can be done if rainfall patterns are anticipated or supplemental irrigation is available.

In mild climates, plant fall through spring to take advantage of winter rainfall. Planting in the fall allows the plants to develop and provide an earlier display of flowers in the spring. For a spring planting, make certain rainfall is expected, otherwise supplemental irrigation will need to be supplied.

Prepare the soil for planting

After the optimum site is decided upon, it is essential to remove grass and weeds to give the seeds the best chance of sprouting. Depending on the size, this can be done with a garden hoe, shovel and rake, or with heavy machinery such as a roto-tiller for larger areas. Additionally, it is best for the soil to be loosened to give the seedlings the best chance to thrive.

Plant the seeds with proper spacing

The optimum spacing is going to depend on the mixture that is planted and the type of coverage you are desiring. Space seeds according to the directions on the packaging. For Seedles, each Seedle can cover up to 1 square foot of space, but for a denser patch, place 3-4 Seedles per square foot.

Depending on size of the area, planting can be done by hand or by a seeder for larger jobs. To plant, place seeds on the top of the soil and gently compress them into the soil using a roller or walking over the area. Planting Seedles is incredibly easy and they just need to be pushed halfway into prepared soil, so the top half is out of the soil, but the bottom half is nicely nestled into its fertile surroundings.

Keep area watered well so flowers grow

Proper amounts of water is essential for seeds to germinate. Seeds should be watered daily and soil should remain moist until the emerging seedlings are 4 to 6 inches tall. After that, watering can be done once or twice a week.

Enjoy your flowers!

Depending on which flowers were chosen, wildflowers can either be annuals or perennials. Perennial flowers will come back year after year, but the annuals just give one year of blooms.

 
Overall, planting wildflowers is a great way to bring joy and happiness into your space. With Seedles, growing wildflowers is easier than ever! A Seedle contains all the essential ingredients for seed germination except water. Local wildlife always plays a part in the survival of any garden. Animals like deer, rabbits, birds, and squirrels are natural and very common. They are foragers and will go after anything- no matter the seed, flower, or plant type. Seedles can be sown any time and they will be protected from the elements and the birds until they get water and are ready to grow.

Having your own beautiful wildflowers in your own space is just a Seedle away!


Cambodia's Honey Harvest Traditions...in Action November 18 2016

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Photo courtesy of thousandwonders.net

The epicenter for honeybees in Cambodia overlaps with its historical center.  

Angkor Wat, the region’s iconic temple complex reminds us of the sophistication of a society that was.  From roughly 800 to 1400 A.D., the region thrived (before a devastating invasion by Thai warriors) and residents of this ancient metropolis relied on honey from the forest.  “In 2007, satellite photographs of the area showed that it may have been the largest pre-industrial city in the world. It had an elaborate infrastructure system connecting an urban sprawl of 1,000+ kilometers, and a complicated water management network. It is estimated that it could have supported up to a million people.” - reported by honeyarchives.com

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Photo courtesy of livescience.com

Photo courtesy of uniprot.org

The native honeybees of SE Asian jungles are the Giant Asian Honeybee, or Apis dorsata.  

Unlike many other species that seek out protected cavities to form a hive, these bees create otherworldly curtains of wax that droop attractively high on canopy limbs.  Containing 50,000-100,000 bees and weighing up to 115 pounds, these oversized blades of buzzing cooperation appear like giant droplets of golden honey oozing with anticipation, clinging atop airy titans of the rainforest.

Photos courtesy of zoochat.com & indnaturewatch.com

Apis dorsata are a good choice to harvest and cultivate as they’re not overly aggressive or reactive and can safely be approached within a few meters.  These bees build homes high in the canopy to avoid honey-scavenging attackers and monitor the mild tropical breezes for any hint of blooming nectar.  Since these bees cling to the hive’s exterior, they famously utilize a mesmerizing proactive defense technique known as “The Wave”, shown here by David Attenborough.

Honey-harvesting traditions in Cambodia are twofold:

Honey Hunters: “Early in the season honey hunters search the forest for bee colonies and mark occupied trees, so that other honey collectors can see that the colony is already ‘taken’.  Later they return to harvest the honey. The harvesting season varies across the country.  For example, on the Tonle Sap Great Lake honey is harvested during the rainy season when the floodwaters allow access to the flooded forests. Honey hunters are adept at climbing and can reach even the seemingly most inaccessible colonies high up in the outer branches of tall trees.” - as described by the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity, ACCB

 

Photos courtesy of lakadpilipinas.com & iaszoology.com

For millennia (no one knows how long) Cambodians intrepidly discovered, then bravely scaled up to 15 stories from the forest floor to win a sweet harvest.  Either free-climbing barefoot or with only plant-fiber cords, they ascended with a bundled tuft of grass to smoke the honey bees into a less angry swarm.  Marvel at this must-see clip of the courage and fortitude this requires.

Rafter Beekeepers:  The bravery of tree-climbing foragers evolved into the practice of rafter beekeeping, basically clever placement of poles that mimic the diameter and angle (roughly 30 degrees upward) of high tree limbs. Beekeepers carry familial knowledge about locating their rafters carefully for habitation by a swarming colony.  Adjacency to water and good nectar forage are clearly important, but read these more subtle details that guide rafter placement.  “The absence of weaver ants is of paramount importance when determining the location for rafters…. Rafters are usually well-protected by the surrounding vegetation on all but one side. The resulting opening at the upper end of the rafter serves as flight path for the bees. Once a swarm settles on a rafter, this rafter tends to get occupied year after year. Therefore, the rafters are not removed at the end of harvest season, but simply replaced every three years.” - ACCB

 

Photo courtesy of beekeepingstuff.com

As human beings we are hard-wired to care for whom we love and what we need.  

We’re social creatures that tend to and improve conditions for our beloved. Since our emergence from Ice Age wilderness, ancestral family, clan and tribal bonds bolstered our ability to survive in groups.  Our survival and progress has always depended on this.

Yet, what truly unlocked the growth for human societies was the extension of care to other species.  For humanity to thrive, we cared for crops in cultivation and creatures in our stables.  In exchange, a consistent source of grain, vitamins, furs, milk, meat and power was available for us. Due to love and care for other species; by setting the stage for them to thrive, we radically augmented our ability to survive.

Apis Dorsata, Giant Asian Honeybee

In Cambodia, the status of the Giant Asian Honeybee and its home forest is in question. Once, when humans were fewer, simply scraping off the bounty of the forest by harvesting the whole hive was feasible.  But, as human population and forest clearing for cultivation swelled, the wild swarms that would’ve re-stocked any patch of habitat have dwindled.  

As the dominant species on earth, we must continually adapt our techniques of care to steward all species.  Adaptation is underway in the Angkor Wat region: Humans Grow Kinder to Honeybees.

A window flower box, a backyard wildflower patch, a few Seedles and some water... it's all care.  And your care matters.

 Courtesy of Graham Owen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Humans Grow Kinder to Honeybeees - Traditions Transform in Cambodia November 18 2016

Traditional honey harvesting techniques evolved to meet the preferences of the Giant Asian honeybee and the desires of humans.

Dani Jump, founder of Bees Unlimited, believes that human desire goes too far and shares this story to illustrate:

 "I was out in a village one day with a friend when I heard the villagers explaining, in Khmer, what sounded like ‘rafter beekeeping’; a tradition, they said, that was being practiced in a community some distance away. I was privileged one day to join a team of community foresters working for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in this very village, where residents manage a community forest. One of them just happened to be the most respected honey-hunter/rafter beekeeper in the region. He showed me some of his Apis dorsata colonies, and how he harvested them.  I was shocked! He was cutting away the entire comb. That’s when I realized the rafter beekeepers here needed help.  Cutting off the hand that fed him—and his family—made no sense to me at all. This one-cut-take-all traditional method of harvesting Apis dorsata colonies just had to go. I would make sure of that."

Dani Jump, founder of Bees Unlimited, at Cambodian street market. Photo courtesy of Damian Magista

Dani’s story isn’t isolated either.  “Traditionally, the honey is harvested in a non-sustainable way, on a one-cut-take-all basis, where the entire comb is cut off, the honey is squeezed out and the larvae are sold to be cooked and consumed. The bees lose their offspring and if the colonies survive, they subsequently leave the area.”

- per the Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)

For both honey hunters and rafter beekeepers, old approaches have proven too destructive.  Across Cambodia, honey hunting provides household calories and income, but bee populations are dwindling due to deforestation, destructive harvest practices and cultural desire for a certain delicacy from the hives.  

Photo courtesy of Damian Magista

Bee brood is the name for the grilled delicacy of bee larvae encased in the hive's comb. Local people enthusiastically flock to enjoy it, which pressures hive viability in the region. Wild honey harvesters push further into forest habitat, hunting hives and cashing in on bee brood demand to support their families.  “Deforestation is just one of the problems facing Apis dorsata. Cambodia’s burgeoning population, with an insatiable appetite for bee brood, is equally responsible for the decline; and, ‘one-cut-take-all’ harvesting has, over the years, had a negative impact on the bees. Deforestation and bee brood consumption must stop, if the bees are to stand a chance of recovering.” - Dani Jump

Positive change is now underway, led by efforts from Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity, World Wildlife Fund, the Non-timber Forest Products Exchange Programme, and Bees Unlimited.  These organizations value intact rainforest that's utilized for sustainable harvest and valued as a complete ecosystem that’s crucially pollinated by native bees.  

Bees Unlimited trains local people for sustainable rafter beekeeping. There are three main principles:

Placement - Finding a strategic, attractive spot for the rafter to attract a colony.  Think of this like a bird house or osprey platform that enhances nesting habitat.

Protection - Raising awareness and organizing villagers and land owners to spare swaths of forest from clearing.

Harvest - The sustainable choice to cut out only the “honey head” from the hive. This is the most honey-rich portion of a rafter hive and spares the larvae (brood) and queen.  Below is a summary from ACCB, and here’s an up-close video of the technique.

Photo courtesy of ACCB

“During a sustainable harvest only the so-called ‘honey head’ is removed, an area at the upper end of the comb that contains almost all the honey. The rest of the comb is left intact, and the bees soon replace the honey head. This technique allows for earlier and multiple harvests, and also helps to protect the bees and restore their population in a given area. Having been deterred by smoke, within minutes after the sustainable harvest the bees are back on their comb. Once the bees start to migrate, the empty and abandoned comb is removed and processed to wax for sale. The bees return to the same place in the next season.”

In Cambodia, we are lucky to witness a full arc of techniques from tree-scaling wild honey harvest alongside careful arrangement of rafters in bee-friendly habitat, to ever kinder and wiser methods that spare the hive’s honey head.  With the guidance of trainers like Pieng Chhoin and Soeun Bun Som, local practices are adapting toward a sustainable honey harvest and beekeeping that promotes healthier forests with adequate hive densities.  

Over time, Cambodians adapted to accommodate bees’ needs by mimicking the limbs of the canopy trees.  Can they now adapt to the needs of the forest, caring for its pollinators?  The reach of wiser techniques, from Bees Unlimited, is surely part of the answer.

In our communities, the challenge to care is similar.  Can we adapt to provide our bees and key pollinators the habitat they need?  Let us bee the answer and grow the wildflower habitat of tomorrow!   

 Courtesy of pinterest.com

 

 

 


Seedles recipient of Burt's Bees Natural Launchpad program July 20 2016

We're happy to share we've been selected to participate in the first Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad program! This annual grant program is for creators energized by an opportunity to improve the health and well-being of our planet and everyone on it.

Our connection with Burt's Bees starts even before the founding of our organization. It begins with a dear family friend of ours, in fact ... she was one of of the first team members at Burt's Bees. Her and her husband both overwhelmingly supported Seedles when it was just a far-flung idea being shared amongst our closest friends. With their enthusiastic vote of confidence we set on the journey to build Seedles, and they've been cheering us along each step of the way. It's serendipitous to be involved with Burt's Bees at this stage in our growth. They represent a company just like ours, started from humble beginnings with a deep commitment to creating natural and environmentally sound products. This is why we have continued to power our business operations with sun-power and have designed a product Seedles which sprouts into wildflowers to leave the world a more beautiful and colorful place. We're not just interested in doing less bad, but in doing much more good. Leaving a positive trace is possible ... we believe this partnership will help us advance those goals and much more.

As one of the grant program recipients, we will receive a $10,000 grant, a day of company mentorship, continued professional guidance and community support from other award winners.

We express deep gratitude to Burt's Bees for this unique opportunity.  We will do our best to make the first group of Burt's Bees Natural Launchpad recipients one of the best.

Thank you, thank you, thank you ...

Sincerely,
Chris, Ei Ei, Orion, Peter, Martín, Andrea, and Bryan

 


Bombs Away - 100,000 Wildflowers For Our Future (Giveaway) April 18 2016

Seedles - Seed Bombs Giveaway

Sow it forward for future generations ...

Hiya beautiful! It's Earth Week, and we're aiming to create a buzz. 100,000 of them.

At Seedles, one of our goals is to sprout a future generation of curious and creative kiddos. This week only, we are giving away 100 classroom kits to teachers all over the US. Each kit has everything a class of giggling and adorable kids would need to grow wildflowers while learning about biology and bees.

Why? ... Bees across the globe are experiencing a cocktail of obstacles causing their health to be jeopardized with each flower they smooch. Whether it be pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or genetically modified crops ... they need our help to enjoy more clean food. They pollinate one in every three bites of our food, why not give back a little? By planting native wildflowers we're given them a fresh buffet of bee food, an action that feels good to do and supports their health too!

Apply by this Friday April 22nd to be entered to win one of our 100 Classroom Superhero Kits.

If you are a teacher and would like to be entered into our recipient pool to receive your very own classroom supero kit, please fill out the following Google Form - http://bit.ly/seedles-classroom-kit-request

Our Kit Includes

  1. 33 Wildflower Seedles - Some people call them "Nature's gumballs" ... we call them play with an impact. Enough for each student to have 1-2 seed balls to sprout and grow. What are seed balls?
  2. 30 Eco-Friendly Pots - They'll need something to grow their wildflower in, we help provide that too.
  3. Compost -  A yummy mixture of three types of compost perfect for sprouting the Seedles. (Did he just say yummy about dirt? Yes!)
  4. Classroom Instructions & Activities - Fun, playful, and educational activities that engage the students hearts and minds about the plight of the bee, what kids can do about it, and how to become a bee superhero.

 

If you are a teacher and would like to be entered into our recipient pool to receive your very own classroom supero kit, please fill out the following Google Form - http://bit.ly/seedles-classroom-kit-request

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Team Seedles - Chris, Ei Ei, Peter, Martín, Andrea & Orion


Seedles and Cascadian Farm partner to Bring Back The Bees February 08 2016

Seedles Flower Bombing Video


How To Make Seed Balls / Seed Bombs August 01 2014

How To Quickly Make Seed Balls

Fun Fact: Bees have 5 eyes – 3 simple eyes on top of the head, and 2 compound eyes, with numerous hexagonal facets.

 

Ingredients

  • Seeds - Can be wildflowers, herbs, vegetables (lettuces do well), or native grasses
  • Clay - Dig it from a creek bed, buy it in powdered form, or purchase wet clay. Any clay is fine, but powdered clay is easiest to work with.
  • Compost - Either make your own or purchase a bag of good quality organic compost. Worm Castings also help, but don't use them more than 10% of your compost portion.
  • Water
  • Big Bowl - and Some Helper Hands

Instructions for How To Make Seed Balls

 

  1. Do a dance, this activity is fun, so celebrate and jump around for a minute!
  2. Mix 1 parts dry powdered clay with 7 parts compost by weight in a big bowl. Mix these together first. If using wet clay, you will want to mix the compost into it bit by bit using a heavy spoon or strong hands.
  3. Mix in 1 part seeds by weight into the clay and compost. If the seeds are very small (like california poppies, yarrow, tidy tips, etc) you can use less, because sometimes 1 cup of seeds can be 250,000 seeds, which would be overkill for a batch.
  4. Mix in 1-2 parts water slowly, usually the 1st part can be added quickly, but the second part needs to be added until you get a thick, dough like consistency.
  5. Break small pieces off and roll them between your two hands into seed balls or seed bombs, whichever you like to call them. The optimal size for making seed balls by hand is between the size of a dime and a nickel.
  6. Let them dry for 24-48 hours before tossing them. Putting them in direct sunlight speeds up the drying process

Ideas for Planting The Wildflower Seed Balls

  • Toss them in your backyard!
  • Go Hansel Gift them as party favors at your
  • Go Hansel and drop them along your route to work then enjoy them everyday. You deserve it.
  • Make a kitchen window garden by adding herb seeds and turning your seed bombs into Thyme Bombs.
  • Reverse egg hunting - Truly celebrate spring by letting kids add color and life to your backyard.
  • Make (Big) Kids Smile - Order a bunch for your wedding, school garden project baby shower, corporate event, birthday, or anniversary party.

Proportions

Many people across the internet recommend a 5 parts clay to 3 parts compost ratio. I also used this for a short while until it became evident the seeds were having challenges in breaking out of the seed ball, and the seed ball was not disintegrating as quickly as I would have liked. I recommend making the mixture as high in compost as you can make it, while still using the clay to hold things together. My experiments have shown to produce success seed balls with 1:1 ratio of clay to compost and even higher ratios of 2 parts compost to 1 part clay. Some of the higher compost seed balls do not have as much strength though, so beware they might need to be stored or transported gently.