NEW POLLINATOR SEED MIX
SALES HELP SUPPORT OBA’S TECH-TRANSFER PROGRAM
BY JENN DOELMAN – UPPER OTTAWA VALLEY BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION
Finding a native, hardy, seasonal seed mix for Ontario conditions can be tough. Some mixes available from seed suppliers can contain invasive species or noxious weeds, and aren’t tested for germination quality. Many mixes have seeds that won’t survive long winters and only flower at one time of the year. As a beekeeper and Certified Crop Advisor, these frustrating aspects prompted me to create a seed mix that was not only beneficial to pollinators but could grow readily in the colder climates of Ontario. As I reside in the Upper Ottawa Valley region, choosing perennial plants that could withstand cold winters was a major focus.
A good pollinator mix is one that is acclimated to the area, offers a wide nectar flow timeline – especially during periods of dearth (low nectar flow) – and has a variety of flower shapes to accommodate the needs of the whole spectrum of wild bees as well as managed honey bees. The creation of even small areas of dedicated habitat can significantly increase the numbers of pollinating insects.