Let Cool Weather Crops and Deer Food Plots Bloom

In the late winter and early spring, many people plant cool weather crops in their gardens. These often include things like broccoli, kale, and cabbage. All of these are in the mustard family.

Honey bees and other early season nectar feeders tend to be highly attracted to members of the mustard family which includes many of our cool season garden crops and plants in deer food plot mixtures. Photo credit: Alon, cc-by 2.0

In rural areas, many people also plant deer food plots in the summer and fall. Commercial seed mixes for deer food plots will often contain several members of the mustard family because they grow in such cool temperatures and can provide deer forage in the late fall / early winter.

Once the temperatures start to warm up in the spring, members of the mustard family will send up a stalk of flowers. The flowers are often yellow and highly attractive to honey bees and other pollinators or nectar feeders.

It may take a little detective work to google what family your cool season vegetables belong to or the family for each type of seed in your deer food plot mix. However, if you are growing members of the mustard family in your garden or deer food plot mix, then a very simple way to help early season pollinators is simply to let those plants bloom. After the flowers have finished blooming, then you can pull them or till them under like you normally would have done a few weeks earlier. Sometimes providing pollinator forage can be as simple as delaying something you would have done anyway.

This article was part of Shannon’s original Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife blog which evolved into the blog for Backyard Ecology.

Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at www.backyardecology.net.

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