August 24, 2015

1 Catlow

Catlow 2

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I caught a swarm of bees. My first!
It rained 4 inches in 2 days.
I did Johnny’s job while he was in Oregon.
Our big fundraising event event is tomorrow.   Jamming for Jasper.

I thought a lot about Thigmotropism.*

*  a movement in which a plant moves or grows in response to touch or contact stimuli. The prefix thigmo- comes from the Greek for “touch” (θιγμός). Usually thigmotropism occurs when plants grow around a surface, such as a wall, pot, or trellis.

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Hellebore Foliage

April 18, 2015

I used to obsess over cleaning up last year’s foliage, and dried leaves on a hellebore  would have sent me running for the Felcos.

 

But years of gardening have changed me. Instead of finding the dried, winter-burned leaves awful or ugly, I revel in watching the fresh green hellebore of 2015 emerge from the the remains of 2014.

hellebore

In fact, I have come to believe that this is what gardening is all about.  There is a metaphor about life in there, too, but I can’t write it.

In the picture: An unnamed hellebore “newest hybrids.” Also boxwood, stephanandra with newly emerged  (yesterday) foliage behind the hellebore.  In front of it, a tiny piece of Geranium “Little Monster” which is suddenly seeding in everywhere.  In the upper left corner, a scrap of Acer Griseum bark.  Upper right, a tiny view of a yew.

One tulip leaf.

 

 

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Seed Storage

April 3, 2015

The good news is: those last-year’s pea seeds did germinate, and they are an inch out of the ground. Harvest the first week of May! Summer crops will go into the pea beds, after we harvest the peas.  Did you know that planting peas before other crops is a good idea because peas (and other legumes) fix nitrogen, a necessary nutrient (it is the N in your NKP fertilizers) naturally making soil more fertile?

peas

I grow snap peas only. Why, you ask?  Hmmm…tells me that you maybe never harvested peas before, or you have a lot more patience than I do (or a lot more time.) The obvious answer: because I am lazy!  Snap peas have edible pods with edible peas inside, so we get way more food for the effort.  To hand-harvest and shell enough peas for this family would take an hour, but if we don’t have to shell them and we can eat the pod, it takes about 5 minutes.

We eat them raw and cooked. At the same time I planted the first bed (under clear plastic hoops), I also planted 3 more beds (not under plastic) which have not yet germinated.

 

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Last Day of March

March 31, 2015

TODAY’S GARDEN REPORT: All of the greens have germinated under the outdoor hoops, but there is no sign of peas…..I should have done a germination test before using last year’s seed.  I am going to give them 4 days–if I don’t see peas, I will replant.

BUT THE BEES! Last Friday, the new packs of bees (three pounds of bees plus a queen, x2) came.  In freezing cold weather, Johnny and I released the queens, poured the bees into the hives, covered them, installed sugar water feeders, put in pollen patties, and insulated the hives.  The combination of working in the freezing cold and close contact with 6 pounds of bees made my heart race for about a half hour after I came inside. (Really living!)

Three pounds of bees and their queen.

TODAY’S BEE INSPECTION: We inspected all three hives.

NEW HIVES:  The two newest have good queens evidenced by 1.) the way the bees cluster to the frame and each other when we removed frames for inspection (they don’t do that if there is not a good, active queen in residence) and  2.) the girls are already drawing out honey comb.

But we actually saw the queen in one of the hives and saw eggs in both.  In three weeks, we should see evidence of the first brood hatch in the new hives.

THE OLD HIVE: We added a brood box (to prevent swarming and in anticipation of splitting the thriving hive).  In about a month, we will split the hive and install 2 new queens.  (Rick says we should keep the old queen in reserve for while, too.)

We saw the queen here, too, a giant beauty. We also saw brood eating its way out of cells. So darn exciting! Sadly, the pictures are blurry.

I could have watched the front of the hive all day.  So much activity!  We saw the girls returning with at least three kinds of pollen, by color: Almost white, light yellow, bright orange.

 

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