sustainability

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The Buzz on Pollinators

      Pollinators are your garden’s best friend! Pollinator insects are key to the environment, they ensure the production of seeds for flowering plants as well as producing 1/3 of the food that we eat.  The decline of pollinators is an ongoing problem for the environment, so at Ken’s Gardens we decided to “bee” proactive! Both of our main locations, Intercourse and Smoketown, have a honey bee hive on site.  Smoketown had a beehive last year, and it was so successful for both the plants and the bees that we added one to the Intercourse location for this year! What is the best part of our bees? They will leave you alone! The only time to use caution is on a breezy day where they might get caught in your hair. We comfortably work right next to the hive, but wearing a hat is the best way to prevent stings.

Bees are always welcome in our vegetable garden!

Bees are always welcome in our vegetable garden!

      Smoketown’s beehive is located directly next to the trial vegetable garden beds. Our vegetable garden yields are indeed higher because of the beehive! The Smoketown hive has currently 50,000 to 60,000 bees and has produced 120 pounds of honey this season so far. The Intercourse beehive is located in the perennial growing area, which is off limits to customers since the hive is still growing.  If you have visited either store, you wouldn’t be surprised to see our honey bees filling their bellies with pollen and nectar in our perennial yards and in with the annuals. We have made it our mission to minimize any spraying of chemical insecticides on our plants to ensure our bees safety. 

Smoketown's Beehive

Smoketown’s Beehive

Ronk's Beehive

Ronk’s Beehive

     Larry Beiler, of Beiler Beehives, cares for both of our beehives; he checks on them weekly and will harvest honey when necessary.

Larry checks on the Smoketown hive.

Larry checks on the Smoketown hive.

     Bees require a lot of honey to be stored throughout winter, and Larry is sure to keep them well stocked! Honey combs can only have honey harvested once the comb is capped like so:

Larry holding a capped honeycomb.

Larry holding a capped honeycomb.

 Larry will also check the hives for mites; he sets up a drone comb to examine the amount mites and to watch for any diseases.

Larry holding a drone honeycomb.

Larry holding a drone honeycomb.

     Honey bees have a lot of different roles within the colony; here is a stinger-less drone bee! Yes, you can hold drones with the help of a beekeeper.

A drone bee from the Smoketown hive.

A drone bee from the Smoketown hive.

If you see a swarm of honey bees, don’t panic, call a local beekeeper. Swarming bees mean their queen bee has left the hive for some reason and the bees need to be rehomed. To learn more about honey bees, National Geographic has some good information.

Larry holding an active honeycomb.

Larry holding an active honeycomb.

 

Our thriving flowers and hardworking beehive gives us a lot to “bee” happy about here at Ken’s!

Looking forward to 2016!

           Here at Ken’s Gardens we are looking ahead to 2016! We have a lot to look forward to this new year: workshops, sustainability and being able to do more for our customers. A lot of you have voted on a new logo, which will be coming out in 2016, as well as a new tagline. This year we would like to refocus on what Ken’s Gardens is: a family owned full service garden center that grows plants and knows plants. While there are plenty of plant farms and garden centers, there are seldom together. Ken’s Gardens grows most of their own plants and we know everything else we get in well. This allows our customer to get the best plant care prior to purchase and we know exactly how to help you at home with these plants. We also carry reliable and unique plants, supplies, and décor!

            We are also working on becoming even MORE sustainable! Ken’s is also moving towards biocontrol for growing our plants to be more environmentally friendly, as well as doing more community outreach programs. Be on the lookout for events to attend and ways you can help us! 

             You may be wondering what a garden center would be doing with plants in the winter… Well, we are busy doing what we do best: growing plants! We have been very busy seeding and propagating.  Ken’s has also been getting together a fresh inventory of décor and supplies for 2016 and we love what we are getting in!DSCN0011 (2) DSCN0016 (2)DSCN0007 (2)DSCN0011 (2)

 

              Ken’s has been anxious to give our loyal customers more, and we have been listening to your questions. So in 2016 we will be bringing you workshops and activities! We will be having workshops for fairy gardens, terrariums, urban and contain er gardening, landscape basics and more.  Field Pansy day is also coming as soon as the weather is good and the pansies are ready! Come out and experience a tradition our Smoketown store has been doing for years: dig your own pansies from the field! FullSizeRender [126167]

Can’t wait to show you all we’ve been working on in 2016! – Ken’s