In this episode, Joe takes us on a beekeeping journey. He travels to Seattle, Washington to visit Corky Luster, the owner of Ballard Bee Company. Joe talks with Corky about the importance of honeybees and their relevance to the foods we eat. Corky Luster helps homeowners set up their own beehives. Those that are interested in having a hive in their backyard can sponsor 2 to 4 hives and Corky will come out and maintain the hives on a weekly basis.

backyard beekeeping

Corky sets up the smoker to calm the bees for their close-up

Joe and Corky also discuss how there has been a drop in hives, partly due to a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. It is an unexplained disappearance of, most of, or an entire population of bees in a hive. Research is ongoing to establish the cause of this tragic loss of bees.

Joe, then, takes us to meet Linda Tillman, a master beekeeper who has a small urban backyard that is home to many hives. Joe gives us a look into the layers of a bee hive and how they are constructed.

Next, we visit with Robin Haglund, a landscape designer and founder of Garden Mentors. Robin is a benefactor of Corky Luster and Ballard Bee Company’s service and has set up a couple of beehives in her backyard. Robin takes us on a tour of her backyard and gives us some of the nuances of having backyard bees.

The second benefactor of Cory’s Ballard Bee Company is forward-thinking Seattle restaurant, Bastille. Determined to have fresh lettuce and greens all year round, they brought in Seattle Urban Farm Company and Colin McCrate to install and maintain the 4500 square foot kitchen garden, located on the roof of the restaurant.

Finally, Chef Nathan takes us to meet Chef Bobby of the Barking Frog at Willows Lodge as he creates a mouth-watering meal using honey from the Ballard Bee Company.

For more information check out these additional links:

Ballard Bee Company

Linda Tillman Blog

Robin Haglund Blog – Garden Mentors

Seattle Urban Farm Company

Willow Lodge and the Barking Frog


Growing A Greener World is a national gardening series on Public Television that features organic gardening, green living and farm to table cooking. Each episode focuses on compelling and inspirational people making a difference through gardening. This gardening series covers everything from edible gardening and sustainable agriculture to seasonal cooking and preserving the harvest.

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    • says

      Phyllis, I suggest you contact a local beekeeping club in your area. It seems like there is at least one in every community. I’ve done that and it is invaluable in so many ways. You have real people who you can contact that are experienced and passionate about keeping bees. They live in your area and will likely be happy to assist you in getting started.
      Attend beekeeping classes. Early in the year you should be able to find several in your area. Contact your local botanical garden or nurseries to see if they can direct you. Other options include the many great books out there on the subject. I have several but there are so many books on beginning beekeeping now. And order a few catalogs from bee farms. They are full of helpful information and usually have great links on their website including instructional videos. I like this site for that kind of information at Brushy Mountain Bee Farm in NC:

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