Friday, May 15, 2015

Growing Bee Balm from Seed to Harvest

Have you ever considered the "medicine" available to you, grown in your own backyard (or farm).  From Basil to Coneflower and even Thyme, there are so many reported health benefits of many common (and not so common) herbs and flowers.

We'll start with growing Bee Balm.  Why grow Bee Balm?
Lemon Bee Balm
#1 For the BEES! Bee balm attracts pollinating insects such as bees, and predatory insects such as beetles, centipedes, spiders, bees, and butterflies, which “will eat the herbivorous insects and parasites that eat your plants.”

#2 To repel Mosquitoes!  Bee balm’s scent is an effective mosquito repellent, but generally works best when its leaves are crushed to release the fragrant oils

#3 Beneficial for Tomatoes!  Bee balm, planted in proximity to your tomato plants, will improve “both the growth and the flavor of tomatoes."

Growing Bee Balm from Seed

Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in rich, well-drained soil.  Although it will tolerate drought, bee balm will do much better if it gets adequate moisture.

Sow seeds at the surface and push gently into soil, needs light to germinate, with no more than 1/8" deep in seed starting formula. Keep evenly moist to dry- not soaked. Seedlings emerge in 14-25 days.

Bi-annual plant that blooms in the second year, with the first year devoted to root growth. Bee Balm seed does not require any cold treatment, but germination will improve with several weeks of cold stratification. Germinates in two to three weeks at a rate of 60 to 70 percent. TRANSPLANT seedlings after all danger of frost has passed, then plant out in light soil 10" apart.

Caring for Bee Balm

Every 3 or 4 years, dig up and divide the plants. Discard the old center section and replant the outer roots and shoots. Bee balm can get powdery mildew. To avoid mildew, plant where there is good air circulation and avoid overhead watering. Also cut back plants in the fall, remove old stems, and clean up old mulch.

Companion Plants of Bee Balm

Bee Balm is a companion to flowering veggies that depend on bees and other pollinators.  Plant Bee Balm in the center of the garden and surround with veggies such as Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants and Squash.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

This post would be a perfect addition to the new Our Simple Homestead Hop if you would like to share it with us!