Cucumbers and the importance of bees

I think I am like a lot of people, or at least I was, about how food grows. To grow a considerable garden you need a plot of land, a hoe or a tiller, and then you till the spot and plant the seeds or starter plants and water as needed. Occasionally, especially after a rain, you weed the garden. If rain is sparse then you need to haul water to the garden and water the plants. Then magically the plants, because you weeded and watered them, appear. But there is more to it. As an adult, I’ve planted a large garden just once. But I’ve had container gardens for years that I grow tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and flowers in. But, even growing my own vegetables, I was still clueless as to how the whole process worked. It’s bees–our food grows because of bees. Honey bees and bumble bees are the only bees that I’m not afraid of.  Each year I plant pots of lavender, verbena, and bee balm to please the honey and bumble bees. There are two things that I’ve learned in the last five years that may make you laugh hysterically. The first thing– I didn’t know until about five years ago that the flowers on my tomato plants, or on any fruit or vegetable plant, represent the fruit that the plant will bear. I had no idea!  I thought the flowers were just part of the plant. The second thing I’ve learned just this year is that sweat bees also pollinate fruits and vegetables.

Something very important that I knew but had never put into practice was that one must feed your plants. I had always assumed, that if I bought really good plants or seeds, I would grow really good healthy veggies and flowers. Not so. They need to be fed. I’ve been feeding my plants Foxfarm Happy Frog Organic Fruit and Flower Fertilizer. Everything is so much more filled out, rich, colorful and happy. Which makes me happy too. When I thought I was going to lose my cucumbers, because of the cucumber beetle, I quickly looked up organic remedies. I found that growing catnip plants next to the cucumbers works great. Of course, I didn’t have time to do that so I grabbed dried catnip from my cat’s stash and sprinkled that around the base. Problem solved. Unfortunately, I did this too late and lost all my plants except one. And that one plant is thriving thanks to catnip, my watering, being fed properly, and of course most importantly because of the bees!

The first picture is of the sweat bee pollinating the flower, the second is the male flower, the third picture is the female flower and the last picture is my first ever grown cucumber. (click on pictures to make larger)





That’s all for now until next time eat good food!

7/2021 Update on what I think you need to start and maintain a good garden:

I’m a no-till gal now–the 2015 gal was not. Over the past 6 years I’ve learned a lot about permaculture/composting/no-till, Charles Dowding, and also Back to Eden gardening and am no longer a proponent of tilling the soil.