Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Mustards are in Bloom

Throughout the delta yellow patches of knee-high, yellow flowers define the cool-season kitchen garden that is being left to go to seed. The yellow flowers are the next stage of the salad greens eaten from fall through spring. The greens are members of the important bee plant family, the mustards. These plants provide nectar and pollen for the bees. As well as the greens, the mustard family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard, and radish. Rape is another mustard, which is often known by its other name, canola.

Click on the photo and you can see that the honey bee is collecting pollen from the flowers of collards. She has the pollen packed onto her pollen baskets on her hind legs. The pollen provides proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals for the bees to use to feed their developing brood. When pollen is mixed with honey, which is carbohydrate, the honey bees have a complete diet. Collard greens are often cooked with turnip, mustard, and kale greens to make an enjoyable dish.

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