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Kissed by Bees - How Seeds are Born

By Tom Stearns, June 17, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Tom Stearns

Tom Stearns is the founder of High Mowing Organic Seeds and a friend of Whole Kids Foundation®. High Mowing Organic Seeds provides Whole Kids Foundation school garden grant recipients with a starter set of seeds, as well as seed packets that the foundation uses to inspire families to grow together in their yards or on their window sills.

Through the Share the Buzz campaign, Whole Kids Foundation is working to educate families about the importance of bees and even to provide a few schools with bee hives so that kids can see firsthand the integral role bees play in everything we eat! Many thanks to Tom for sharing this post and his seeds with us. Read on to learn how you could win A Bee's Garden seed collection from High Mowing Organic Seeds.

It is early summer and I am about to experience one of the most amazing events of my year. At High Mowing Organic Seeds we are seed growers so all of our crops must flower. Yes, even the broccoli, spinach, lettuce, radishes and mustard greens. It is into a field of 20,000 mustard green plants that I walk this morning. They are now 3 feet tall and in full flower – brighter yellow than you can imagine. Each plant has over 200 open flowers – that’s over 4 million flowers in an area about half the size of a football field! And even more will open as the week goes on.

Honey bees and other pollinators are essential partners in our life as seed growers and without them we would have nothing. With each pollination visit to a single flower, 15-20 seeds will grow. If the weather behaves, we’ll have 80 million mustard seeds beginning to grow today.

I slowly walk through the buzzing, intoxicatingly sweet air and settle myself on the earth in the middle of the patch. As the jostled bees resettle around me, I watch and listen as they do all of this wondrous work for us.

They battle and fight with wasps and flies for territory, but there is enough nectar, as well as enough work for everyone. There are hundreds of thousands of bees in the patch today and I owe each one my thanks. We’ve done our job, preparing the soil with organic compost, planting the seedlings and weeding them.

Now the crop is in the hands of the bees, our essential partners on our little organic seed farm in Vermont. An old beekeeper told me once that bees “kiss” the flowers. That means that each of our seed begins with a kiss. Not a bad way to get started in life.

Think of them as you plant seeds in your own garden this year. How about some seeds to get your backyard buzzing? Tell us why you love bees in the comments below by June 27th and five randomly selected winners will each get A Bee's Garden seed collection from High Mowing Organic Seeds.




Julia Rajcan says ...
Pollinators are health care providers. Energy providers, therapeutic and nutritional ealers of the skin, and immune system. Our local bees wax propolis Morning Song Gardens are first rate role models in Cleveland, Ohio. We are putting out the call to do the bee dance this spring into summer gardening and spreading the good news. I work in Whole Body Dept-Cedar Center, Mid-Atlantic region and share the story every workshift. Is it a factual easy sell based on research and longevity going back to biblical times.
06/17/2012 7:54:48 PM CDT
j.J. says ...
I love bees for the yummy fruits and vegetables and nuts that they fertilize. I also like honey.
06/18/2012 9:31:06 AM CDT
Jessica says ...
I love bees because the pollinate our flowers! Without them we wouldn't have food
06/19/2012 8:46:05 AM CDT
Jenn B says ...
As a grower for a college farm and manager of a community garden, I try to share with students and members the importance of pollinators. Without the pollinators, we would not be able to grow the bountiful fruits and vegetables that we do today. Not only should we appreciate them and protect them, but we should also create pollinator habitats for them to thrive.
06/19/2012 8:53:57 AM CDT
Lucinda says ...
I love hearing the bees buzz in my yard when I'm outside.
06/19/2012 9:23:43 AM CDT
Shane Berry says ...
Fisrt bees defy gravity in their ability to fly and make us ask deeper questions. They produce propolis, beeswax, royal jelly, honey and collect highly nutrious pollen balls. All very usefull for us humans. Oh.. and they pollinate most of our food. Lastly they make a huge statement for peace and cooperation, if they must sting and defend themselves or the hive, they die. Imagine a world where if a humane harmed another living thing he died of natural law. Hmmm...
06/19/2012 10:30:20 AM CDT
Emilie says ...
Seeing the bees as they fly from flower to flower always makes my heart dance.
06/19/2012 10:33:42 AM CDT
Tami says ...
I taught my boys early on about the importance of bees. And I love hearing them explain to their friends that we need bees for more than just honey. When my youngest was 3, he would tell people that flowers can't have babies without bees. I didn't explain it quite like that, but I guess he got the idea.
06/19/2012 11:09:58 AM CDT
Jerry Gibbons says ...
We have some acreage in the country, most of which is just open space - left to be wild with grasses, flowers, bushes and trees. I think we never have enough bees to keep this space natural and love to see them buzzing around, doing their job pollinating then making honey.
06/19/2012 12:00:20 PM CDT
bethany says ...
i love everything about bees, but especially love working with my hives. their buzzing is so calming; like a humming ohm sound.
06/19/2012 9:16:54 PM CDT
Kristin McNamara Freeman says ...
I love my pollinators! This year I added a bee hotel with native bees to increase the pollination of plants in my yard and in my neighbors as well. Watching them works the gardens as different plants begin their blooming season is a delight for me.Not all bees are honey producers yet provide such a service to me, the home gardener.
06/20/2012 8:04:59 AM CDT
Kristin says ...
I love to see bees hovering over flowers and plants!
06/20/2012 8:20:41 AM CDT
Richard Bruce Doughty says ...
Thanks for taking me along on a lovely stroll through your gardens on this first day of summer. I could almost hear the buzzing bees and deeply inhale the sweet fragrances.
06/20/2012 9:43:11 AM CDT
graham says ...
Living in the desert, the summers can be brutal, so I love going out just after dawn when it's cool, and I can see (and hear) the bees hard at work. Come noon, the desert will be scorching hot and I'm hiding inside, but the bees will still be hard at work!
06/20/2012 11:50:49 AM CDT
maryann says ...
I love bees because without them there would be no fresh fruits and vegetables to look forward to each season.
06/20/2012 3:16:15 PM CDT
Virginia Gelczis says ...
I love bees because they work so hard. They work for themselves, but they also work for us, as you pointed out in your eloquent pollination post. And bees don't bother us at picnics, as wasps and flies do. They don't care about our food--they have their own--and they're too busy anyway. Bees inspire me to stay focused and appreciate nature all the more. "The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee. A clover, anytime, to him [her] is aristocracy." --Emily Dickinson
06/20/2012 5:33:57 PM CDT
Mrs. Lewis's First Grade Class says ...
We love bees for MANY reasons!!!! Bees pollinate the flowers so that we can grow our fruit and vegetables. We love bees because they make the seeds grow! Without the bees we would not have eaten the cucumbers that we ate today. They were super yummy! We love bees; we love seeds; we love our Grow Zone vegetable garden!!
06/21/2012 2:04:07 PM CDT
Val says ...
Such wondrous tiny creatures that have enormous impact on our ecosystem. I get mesmerized watching them at work! Makes you truly appreciate all God's blessings and his divine plan at work!
06/23/2012 6:49:15 AM CDT
M. Evans says ...
Bees are THE example of a sustainable community. They work together with amazing communication to build their colony, gather food, nourish their young, replenish their food sources, and store food to sustain them through the lean times. They stick together when the hive is threatened and if it is destroyed, the survivors move together to rebuild their home. Much can be learned from the beautiful bee.
06/23/2012 11:37:47 PM CDT
K's Girls says ...
We are so very lucky to have our own hives with bees that make the best honey. My children respect the bees and everything they do by creating the honey and pollinating our garden. We also have enjoyed converting our former lawns into native plant gardens and observing all the native bees that also come visit. Our live wouldn't be the same without these wonderful beings!
06/25/2012 8:40:02 AM CDT
MB says ...
Bees are amazing in how they work so hard to make honey, propolis, etc., all the while pollinating plants which then in turn provide us with food! Just this weekend I discovered a different type of bee in my garden: the leafcutter. The 3 leafcutters I saw were very active together, visiting flowers then "dancing" together. It was really neat to see a new (to me), native bee in my garden!
06/28/2012 9:16:58 AM CDT
Casey says ...
I love bees because they make delicious honey, because they pollinate the plants, and because they look so darn cute!
06/28/2012 10:40:40 AM CDT
Ladynearfar says ...
Our family loves all things buzzy and keeps our birdbath filled with water so they can drink when they're thirsty.
06/28/2012 11:01:56 AM CDT
Gladys Hutson says ...
Hi, I am an employee with Whole Foods in Charlotte, NC. I am also a Master Gardener and a Beekeeper in Union County, NC. Bees are so very important to our food supply, from the production of seeds to the fruit that is produced. Without these wonderful pollinators, our food supply would be in trouble...not to mention the fact that we would not have any of that wonderful tasting beneficial Honey!! There is also a great need for educating the public about these awesome creatures. Not only education about the role they play in pollination but also education about what we must all do to protect the Honey Bee and all pollinators from deadly chemical treatments. You will find that most people do not realize the small things that they can do to help save our pollinators.
11/16/2012 7:53:14 AM CST
Sheila says ...
I love bees because they're beautiful to look at, useful in pollinating my early-flowering fruit trees, and they teach my kids (and my 4-H Garden Club kids) all about the food systems in our back yards.
05/16/2015 11:13:42 AM CDT