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Mason Bees: 5 reasons you want them in your garden!

Garden Friends

You’ve heard about the bee… but have you heard about the mason bee? There are approximately 20,000 known species of bee on this planet, and 139 of those species are mason bees. If you’ve never heard of them, let me fill you in a bit because these little critters are amazing! I think they are amazing… can you tell? Lol!  I get excited about animals sometimes.  Let me share a little and then let’s see if you are a little excited too 😉

Here are some of the reasons I love mason bees:

1. Mason Bees are a solitary species, meaning they don’t live in a hive. Most people think of a hive when they think of a bee, but that’s because the honeybee lives in a hive. The honeybee is the most well known, but it is definitely not the only bee.  Mason bees are beneficial to us as gardeners because we don’t need to become beekeepers to enlist their help in our garden. 

2. Mason Bees are non-aggressive and don’t sting. Whaaat? A bee that doesn’t sting?  Yep, that’s correct. They can sting, but it’s incredibly rare. Honeybees have a queen and a hive to protect, and they will give their life to do so. Did you know that when a bee stings you they die? It’s true.. And sad! If they feel threatened, they will sting to protect their hive. Mason bees, however, don’t have a queen and a hive to protect… so they are nice and carefree. They are the safest bee around pets and children for this reason.

3. Solitary bees make up a little over 90% of the total bee populations. It’s true! The poor solitary bees… they don’t get any credit, yet they make up almost all the bees on the planet. Those honeybees get all the attention! You’ve almost certainly seen a mason bee and didn’t even know it.  

4. Mason Bees get their name because of their use of mud, like a mason. This is so cool!  Since they don’t have a hive to lay their eggs in, the females find natural holes or cracks in trees, logs, or any man-made structure they can. After they breed, the female starts laying her eggs in the back of the hole or crack.  Then she packs in pollen and nectar for food and puts a layer of mud to section off that egg.  Once the hole or crack is full, she then seals it with more mud to keep the eggs safe.

5. Mason bees have a 95% pollination rate vs. the honeybee’s 5%. Mason bees are the superheroes of the bee world. Honeybees collect pollen and nectar for their hive. Everything the honeybee gathers is literally for the hive. The mason bee, however, doesn’t have a hive to give the pollen and nectar to.  For this reason, the mason bee carries more pollen on its body when it is traveling from flower to flower. Also, the mason bee is a very furry bee, meaning that it has more hair that the pollen sticks to. The combination of having a furry body and not needing to give the pollen to a hive sends their pollination rate through the roof! 

OK… I’m checking in with you?…. Are you at least a little excited about these critters? They are kinda cool, right?

There are so many amazing animals on this planet. I truly believe that we can do a better job of living in balance with nature. The first step is learning about them! YAY! If you are reading this, it means you now know a little about the mason bees. The next step is to adjust what you are doing to help them thrive. It doesn’t always take huge effort to help many of the animals that live around us. Encouraging the mason bees to live in your yard and garden is a perfect example of that. To learn more about how to encourage mason bees to live in your garden, keep an eye out for our Friends In Your Garden micro-course coming soon.

Carrie Sylvester
Wildlife and Eco Educator

Carrie has lived and worked with animals her entire life. She is driven by a passion to help the animals and planet through her teaching. She began her professional career as aRegistered Veterinary Technician. After spending a total of 10 years in veterinary hospitals, she returned to school to study Animal Training, Zoo Keeping, and Wildlife Education. In these three categories, she has had the privilege of working at the Los Angeles Zoo with the California Condors, training dogs and many exotic animals (including a Wolf and Mountain Lion), and providing hands-on live animal education programs to thousands of children. Following her dream of providing impactful education, she has been the director of a Zoo Day Camp for children and founded a non-profit organization. This passion has now met the world of gardening as she fulfills another dream… having a big, healthy, organic garden!

Holiday Garden Wishlist Staff Picks 2022

Enjoying Your Harvest

Finding the right holiday gift for a gardener isn’t easy. Gifts that often appear helpful aren’t. And sometimes the ones that seem mundane can be fantastic. It can take years for growers to find gadgets and supplies they love. So how can friends and family find the perfect garden gifts this holiday season? We’ve got you covered! Here’s the top ten most useful and exciting products on the market for your holiday gift list.

Want the complete Garden Gift Guide? Download it for free here!

Ease the holiday frenzy so you can relax and have more time with your loved ones with the Grow Your Own Vegetables 2021 Holiday Garden Gift Guide.

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Give The Gift of Time

Even when a garden is optimized, growers typically spend 40% of their time harvesting. That’s almost half our total time in the garden! That’s why this tool can make all the difference. Check out these 5 Blade Scissors!

Garden Like A Superhero

Okay, this tool isn’t going to make you more powerful than a locomotive, but you will be able to prune with 3 times the cutting power with the Fiskars 32-Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper. Made with reinforced fiberglass composite, these loppers are lighter than the competitors.

It also sports a unique gear technology giving you more power without straining to cut. You can easily cut branches up to 2” (5cm) in diameter with this puppy.

PLUS, the corrosion-resistant, non-stick, fully hardened blade means it will last a lifetime. In fact, they stand behind their product with a lifetime warranty and their claim to pruning fame: “This superior- grade tool is lighter, stronger, and more powerful than anything you’ve ever used.”

The Small But Mighty Gift

For  smaller pruning tasks, check out our favorite hand pruner, the Bypass Pruner by Corona. Because no two hands are alike and this pruner was designed with that in mind. The flex dial allows you to set the pruners to match YOUR hand size and to adjust to the size branches you’re cutting, reducing hand fatigue.

Combined with the full steel core handles and ComfortGEL grips for superior comfort it’s no wonder these pruners were a 2017 finalist in the International Design Excellence Awards.

Garden Smarter, Not Harder with these INSTANT Raised Beds

Garden set ups are often extremely costly both in time and money. And if you’re just starting out, on a tight budget, or renting your home, you don’t want to spend a bunch of money and time on your garden set up. That’s why GYOV staff members consider these the best thing since sliced bread:

100 Gallon Raised Bed Grow Bags

These grow bags are just over 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter and 12″ (30cm) deep. They have reinforced handles for transport and are reusable lasting three years in normal gardening conditions. And the best part? They are only $29.99 each. That’s only $10 per year for a whole raised bed.

While these raised bed grow bags are great for anyone who wants to grow, they are perfect for gardeners just setting up and those on the go. They’re also great for gardeners with physical limitations since they eliminate heavy lifting of infrastructure material hauling. Best of all, they are ZERO labor. Buy, open, fill with soil media, and start growing!

Built to last, even commercial growers use them. With superior aeration and drainage to raised beds with solid sides. In fact, the only products that Bootstrap Farmer sells are ones they use on their farm. So if you’re looking for the perfect raised bed for your gardener, this 100 Gallon Grow Bag is where it’s at.

Want to get more than one? Get 3 for $69.99. AND. they’re sustainable and made of food safe recycled plastic and felt. Need something bigger? Check out the 200 gal bags.
 Need something smaller? They’ve got grow bags in 4, 5, 7, 10, 25 gallon sizes too.

The Micro-Dream Tray

Recommended by GYOV staff member and commercial microgreen grower, these trays are one of a kind! So many of the trays on the market are downright junk and you’ll be lucky if you get two plantings from them. Not these trays! Meet the most amazing microgreen tray on the market.

These extra strength 5×5 trays (AKA 801 inserts) are made of heavy duty, recycled, food grade, polypropylene plastic and guaranteed not to warp or break. We were skeptical, so we personally put them to the test! The result? We can’t imagine growing our micros without them ever again.

These trays are great for anyone wanting variety! Fitting eight 5×5 trays to one 1020 flat, these trays reduce environmental waste, AND save you money. The design provides better drainage than competing trays, saving you even more with reduced crop loss. As an added bonus, we ran them through the dishwasher with no problem. Say goodbye to flimsy non-sustainable trays for good with Bootstrap Farmers’ superior quality 5×5 Microgreen Trays.

The ULTIMATE Container Garden: The Garden Tower® 2

Grow up to 50 plants and vegetables in 4 sq. feet (1.2 sq meters) with this Garden Tower! We were blown away by how much thought went into the materials and design of this indoor / outdoor growing container.

The Materials
The Garden Tower® 2 is made of 100% food grade HDPE (non-toxic, BPA & PVC free plastic), FDA-approved dye and UV-protection for health, durability, and it’s recyclable! 💪🏽

The Unique Design
Supporting up to 1,000 lbs, the feet allow the tower to be anchored securely to any platform while still being able to rotate 360° for optimized sun exposure and growing in tight spaces

Planting pockets allow for easy planting and fast harvesting.

For mobile growing, you can get the Premium Caster Kit.

With a patented GT2 vermicomposting tube right down the center, you can compost directly into the tower where plant roots can access nutrients and oxygen from the perforated holes.

Compost release gate allows for seasonal removal of finished compost not used by the plants & provides for aeration from below.

Removable compost/nutrient tea drawer can collect up to two gallons of nutrient enriched water for another pass by plant roots.

The Garden Tower®2 is perfect for growing lettuces, herbs, kale, chard, smaller varieties of peppers and other plants with smaller root systems. To top it all off, it comes with a whopping 5-year manufacturer warranty. This container can last up to twelve years in the harshest of climates!

With all the thought that went into this special grow container, it’s no wonder it was recently named the “Worlds Most Advanced Container Garden.”

The only question we have for the company is, ‘Is there anything you didn’t think of!?’ Order this unique container at their website here.

Want the complete Garden Gift Guide? Download it for free here!

Ease the holiday frenzy so you can relax and have more time with your loved ones with the Grow Your Own Vegetables 2021 Holiday Garden Gift Guide.

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NOTE:  This article contains affiliate links and Grow Your Own Vegetables, LLC may be compensated when you click and purchase through the links above. By purchasing through these links, you’re supporting our mission to help green the planet and create food stable communities across the globe. We only recommend products we LOVE and that help growers on their quest for a fresh food lifestyle.

SAVE THE BEE Sponsor and Donation

Garden Friends

Why Should We SAVE the BEE?

Honey bees are the only insect intricately tied to our food supply. One-third of our diet is currently derived from plants that require pollination, and in the U.S., honey bees are responsible for 80% of agricultural pollination! Without the services of honey bees, there would be no almonds or many of the other healthy fruits and vegetables we take for granted. 

The widespread loss of honey bees in the last decade has been linked to pervasive pesticide use, parasites, loss of foraging habitat and poor nutrition. With annual population losses averaging 40% nationwide, action is needed now more than ever.

SAVE the BEE is inspiring positive change to ensure the future of honey bees.

Led by GloryBee, the SAVE the BEE initiative is a partnership of researchers, beekeepers, businesses and consumers committed to protecting honey bee health by:

Save the Bee Logo

♥ Increasing awareness of the role honey bees play in a healthy food supply

♥ Funding scientific research on the causes of declining bee populations and on solutions to enhance colony health

♥ Providing “best practices” education for farmers, gardeners and beekeepers

We are thrilled to have GloryBee Honey and Save the Bee as a sponsor for the Superfood Garden Summit.

Watch this short video to learn some fun facts about Honey Bees and to learn more about what GloryBee is doing to help SAVE the BEE!

Superfood Garden Summit is happy to have Save the Bee as a Summit Sponsor. Want to help save the bees? DONATE HERE and help support our favorite pollinator!

5th Annual SGS w_Berries (1)

Become a Closet Gardener and Grow Greens Indoor Year Round

Garden Friends

and Growing greens year round means you don’t have to rely on the grocery store for your fresh, organic food… which is great if you keep having recalls on greens in your local area! That’s why Shannon started this beautiful indoor closet garden. Plus some hidden benefits that her doctors can’t explain… gardens really do HEAL!

Recently, Shannon asked how she might improve her yields. Discover what she has already done and how she might tweak her system to improve her yields with tips on watering, “flies” and lights.

Meet Gina the “Make it Happen” Gardener

Garden Friends

When you see someone who believes in the nourishment of a garden SO much that she buys a blackberry bush BEFORE she even has a yard, you just have to find out what happens next!

Meet Gina from California.  

Gina is busy! A doctor and a mother of two, she decided she was tired of her dreams of having a garden pass by year after year. She admits she thought it was going to be easy. She decided to just “wing it” and threw some seeds in the ground to see what would happen. But she ran into some challenges along the way, and was frustrated because the learning curve was steep!

Luckily, Gina started asking some really great questions in our Grow Your Own Vegetables community this year. And she found the right tools to make her feel confident in the garden. And her garden is really thriving… because she always finds a way to make it happen.

Karla the Mountain Gardener: Nourishing Her Community Even After Working Long Hours at Her Job

Garden Friends

When you see someone who has integrated gardening into their lifestyle in a way that is wildly successful AND effortless, you just have to ask them how they did it!

Meet Karla from Denver, Colorado. She works LONG hours and lives in the mountains with highly unpredictable weather. But she doesn’t let anything stand in her way when it comes to growing healthy food and nourishing her soul.

This year, she experienced her best harvest yet despite cold snaps and heat waves. So much so that she is giving away hundreds of pounds of produce! What made the difference? I’ll let Karla tell her own story… And by the way, she’s a garden superhero!