This project investigated three cover crops (buckwheat, phacelia, and a perennial conservation mix from Ernst Seeds) for enhancing pollinator floral resources on farms. Results showed that both buckwheat and phacelia functioned well as cover crops and enhanced floral resources especially during seasonal floral resource dearth periods. Honeybees preferred buckwheat while bumblebees preferred phacelia. In our planting situation, the conservation mix was not competitive with weeds until the second year when Maximillian’s sunflower dominated and provided a late September and October floral resource for pollinators. Highlights of our outreach involved multiple pollinator workshops, a field day, and a video (Enhancing Pollinator Floral Resources at The Farm Between) available at The Farm Between website: (www.thefarmbetween.com) and on Youtube.
The goal for 2013 was to establish cover crop plots and collect data on pollinator, beneficial and tarnished plant bug populations as well as flowering phenology and weed populations. In 2014 we finished collecting data on cover crops as potential weeds and focused on analysis of data, demonstrations and other outreach.