“Bee-Cause” They Are Important To Our Ecosystem
Understanding the Role of Bees through Indoor Gardening at Urban Farmer
Did you know that”you have a bee to thank for every one in three bites of food you eat”? (Save the Bees, Greenpeace.org). Many of us did not know this or understand the role of bees in agriculture or our ecosystem.
Much of that has changed, at Urban Farmer Cleveland, with the start of an indoor garden and education from General Manager, Andy Hata. As mentioned in our last post, Andy has been leading the team to grow chili peppers within a custom grow tent on premise. This week, we took the project to the next level by moving grown plants from the tent to a garden everyone can enjoy, within Urban Farmer’s lounge.
It was exciting to see the plants flourishing; now feature worthy, and being moved to the front of the restaurant. How the chili peppers grew, from seed – to flowering plant – to vegetable we could eat, is where the learning comes in.
Most of us understand the concept of planting a seed and something growing. But what about when the environment is changed and you are trying to grow something indoors, where there’s lack of sun or bees?
Many of us hadn’t really thought about it. That is until we saw Andy “painting” the chili pepper flowers one day. After laughs are often exchanged, over the unexpected “gardening” scene, Andy will explain his critical role in the growth of the chili peppers to staff admiring them.
In order to transform these flowering plants, into the vegetable producing kind, pollination is required. But without the help of bees, the help of Andy is required for in this environment. Each day, Andy must use a paint brush to transfer pollen from the male to female flowers; to pollinate, and essentially act as the bee in our indoor garden. In addition to our “Andy bee”, we also rely on our iGrowlights to act at the “sun” within our garden.
While both are working rather well, as you can see, the project now has many of us wondering what our lives would be like without bees. Could you imagine growing vegetables on a large scale with these methods? It’s a scary thought and possible reality for our near future. After all, hand pollination (aka painting flowers) sadly is required in many other parts of the world.
Maybe our next project should be bee keeping! You’ll have to wait and see.
In the interim, stop by and check out our new indoor garden, currently featuring chili peppers, oregano and sage. And please wish us luck as we hope to incorporate the fruits of labor into a few areas of the menu, pending growth.