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The difference between pollen and nectar

Nectar is a sweet solution of sugars produced by the plant which is what bees collect to make honey. Flowers make this nectar to ensure bees get close enough to their male anthers which are covered in pollen, the powder you see on the bees back and legs. The flower needs the bee to transport this pollen to its female companion in order for fertilization to take place so it can produce a fruit. It is this process that ensures we get the vegetables and fruits and grains we love to eat.

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Beezthingz – a family’s admiration for bees

Julian and Oliver McCurdy are second generation bee keepers. It was their father’s love of bees that culminated in the business the two brothers now run. Beezthingz uses the latest strategies to care for bees as is demonstrated by the innovative green roofs they have produced to go on their bench hives for The Park. But after decades of trial and error they insist natural chemical free practices support healthy, happy bees that produce the best quality honey. They now run the biggest hire hive business in Auckland servicing hundreds of hives as well as teaching through their workshops. They are proud to let us know they lost almost no hives this year which is incredible as bees in New Zealand and the world are in serious decline. Come and do one of their workshops where they will share their strategies’ on how to love and nurture bees with you.

www.beezthingz.co.nz

Mycorrhizal fungi- microorganisms to help plants grow

Microorganisms’ are many different types of fungi and bacteria that you want to live in your soil. They process the nutrients that are locked away in things like leaves, twigs and cow poo and turn them back into their mineral forms so that plants can eat them.  One microorganism called mycorrhizal fungi does so much more than that. This fungi attaches itself to plant roots so the plant looks like it has a root hair extension. With these longer roots the plant can collect so many more minerals to eat, and store lots of water. Mycorrhizal fungi also produces enzymes to help make the plant healthy. 90% of mycorrhizal fungi have been killed by chemicals so to get them back you need to inoculate for them. Fortunately this is pretty easy to do. We are re introducing this fungi along with Trichoderma back into our soil with Nutri-Life Network AMF supplied to us by Franko Solutions in Sliverdale at the same time we sow our seeds. These microorganisms will help build humus, increase the plants roots zone, boost phosphate and zinc availability, lift the levels of calcium in the plant, help the plant be more resilient, and increase the plants nitrogen fixing capacity.

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Preparing ground

Before scattering any seeds we need to make sure our ground is good enough to grow pasture plants.

Firstly we want to get rid of the competing grass without the using any chemicals which harm microorganisms and insects. So we will use a new hot-water spray system. Then we will focus on reintroducing microorganism communities back into the spaces we intend to create our pasture paintings on. Microorganisms will help our plants grow. We have inoculated all the ground where we have scattered seed with Nutri-Life Network- AMF. This microorganism blend reintroduces Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi, and Trichoderma back into the soil as quickly as possible to help our plants have strong healthy root systems.