Thursday, 10 July 2014

Nectar Mix

If you go up the Heron Trail and turn right by Dodder Fen, you can look over our arable fields.

Nectar mix
Did you see the tremendous crop of poppies in Peter's Field? They are over now but the big feature to look for this week is our nectar mix, which Matt Hall has sown in strips along-side the beetle banks that seperate our fields.
Matt the Ranger in his flower bed.

The predominant colour is blue with cornflowers and borage. The tall, pink/purple plant is Phacelia and the white one is buckbean. they all attract masses of insects, especially bees and hover flies. Later they produce seed for the birds.

It would be nice to grow more native species, but this is the mix that is funded by the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme (HLS) that we have joined. It certainly works.

In previous years we grew more cereals and even had to use a combine harvester to gather grain, most of which was fed to the birds in winter. We also grew long-stemmed barley for thatching. Under the HLS, we grow crops that don't have to be harvested and therefore do not have to be "tidy" monocultures. In fact, the more weeds we have, the better. Weed seeds tend to be smaller than cereals and appeal to wider range of birds. I guess you will have noticed that most birds ignore wheat and barley on the bird table, but snaffle up the sunflower seed and the small stuff.

You can learn more about pollen mixes here.