Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Down on the Farm ...

Spring is springing here in Oriental. Our forsythia is on the verge.
That bush is right next to our bee hives. We were a bit worried about one of our hives after a very cold winter. Bees can starve to death if the weather does not allow them to get out and forage for food before new worker bees can be born. It was probably nip-and-tuck for that hive (the third one from the left).
Adam put sticks in their gates over the winter to keep wind and cold out of the hive, plus it gives the bees less of an opening to protect against invaders.
Adam plans to split his hives this spring, by June. He hopes to have ten hives this summer. They were very active today in the warm weather. Even the weak hive (which was a swarm we collected last summer) was busy. He will be building new hive boxes.
This is an opening on the back of the large, healthy Langstroth hive. The bees sealed it up with propolis over the winter, but now they've opened it. It allows them to get into the top box more quickly with their nectar.
We have two hives that contain Langstroth frames, and two that contain Warre frames. The frames are only different in their shape. This year, he wants to convert all his hives to Langstroth frames so he can interchange them, moving brood and honey around to split hives and manage his bees effectively.
Today he opened the tops of the two Langstroth hives and peeked inside. It looks good.
He removed the top box on the small Langstroth hive because it was empty. He's compressing that hive, reducing their space, to encourage them to make queen cells. With queen cells and bees, he can split and make new hives.
The bees are crawling over each other, going in and out.
My house plants were happy (as we were) to get out of the house and be in the sunshine!
My mums over-wintered and are coming out again.
My nasturtiums came up well, although they're leggy from growing inside. I'm hardening them up, putting them outside each day. The other two long green boxes had old flower seeds in them, but they didn't come up well. Now I've put radish and spinach seeds in there. The boxes down below (on the patio) have my herbs, which have over-wintered as well.
The little L-shaped bed is ready for planting. I turned it again and added eggs shells, which give needed calcium to the soil.
I came up with a use for Adam's Warre hive boxes that he doesn't want to use anymore. We put them straight on the ground in the backyard and filled them with very rich dirt from the ditch in front of our house. I'll plant tomatoes in them later. The boxes are open to the soil below, and over the next month or two, the grass under there will die off from lack of sun. I'm hoping this will give better tomatoes than last summer, when I put patio tomatoes into big pots -- more room for roots.
Hardly a farm! That was an exaggeration. But I do love getting my fingers in the dirt in the spring, and I'm hoping to have a few things to add to my farmer's market table, in addition to honey and herbs. Maybe I need to expand from just "Red Robin Soaps" to "Red Robin Garden." Yes?


  1. I am happy the bees are well! x

  2. Red Robin Farms sounds great too! I think you are farmers with your bees (livestock), herbs, and veggies. I like your bee box tomato gardens. Good, good!

  3. You have been very busy....and brave dealing with all those bees. My daughter gave me lots of vegetable seeds for Christmas and I started off the first packet at the weekend. These are red sprouts that should be ready next Christmas. I'll make sure I serve some to her and hubby. Personally, I can't stand them. But I might have to force myself this year.

  4. Happy Spring to you two! It looks like all is going well there on your little 'farmette'.

    Have fun ~ FlowerLady

  5. Red sprouts are a version of Brussels sprouts! Apparently, a good ground frost will make them turn red. Hopefully, it improves the smell as well.

  6. Isn't it great to see signs of spring. How neat to have bee hives and watch them like that. So glad that they seem to have managed the harsh winter.


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