Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Busy as a Bee: Todays Work in the Garden

Well, it's a hot sunny day with a light breeze blowing. Perfect for working on my sunburn! Actually I've got the worst of it covered up today in an effort to not look like a cooked lobster. And since it's the middle of the day, I'm inside having a glss of water and avoiding the sun altogether. Chris will be home from school in a half an hour and we'll head back out then to finish the tilling and rake out as much crab grass as we can so that we can begin planting.

We have a small garden at the house in Greenwood here. The soil's very sandy, ant ridden and dry at the moment but we've mixed in lots of manure and are hoping to at least be able to get some tomatoes, squash, beans, peas and salad veggies off it, especially if I can control the ants. Our main garden is at a friend's place in Wilmot, about 10 minutes away from our house, and the same place we keep our hens and chickens. We've got it tilled over several times but it's chock full of crab grass so we've cut it down and now we're pulling out endless roots. But the more we can get out now, the better it will be as far as weeding goes later in the season.'s never ending!

The plan for today is to finish tilling the main garden over once again, this will be the 7th or 8th time I think, pull out as much crab grass root as we can and then get some rows of peas, beans, tomatoes and corn into the ground as a main crop. The greenhouse will be planted with tomatoes and cucumbers to start and then a crop of peas and salad greens for the fall. We'll also be planting our winter veggies in there if all goes as planned. But for now the main thing to do is to get planting started for staples that we can freeze, can and store. The sooner we can get things in the ground the better. We're looking at having a cooler and maybe wet day tomorrow so that'll be my main planting day unless my friend Jennie goes on to have her baby that day.

The bees have settled in and are building new comb on the top bars. The main problem at this point is that the original 4 combs that came with our bees are spaced too far apart as seen above and so the bees have built bracing comb (like little bridges) between them, making them very difficult to remove. We can fix it but it would mean destroying some of the grubs and we want the hive to build up a nice healthy population and getting in supplies so they will overwinter well. Above is a pic of Meghan in my veil ($6 from eBay) and to the left is Steve is his gloves and veil (no bee suit this time) checking out the top bars. It's a strip of wood with a groove on the underside for the bees to start building comb on. Eventually it will be a full-sized rounded comb and there will be others beside it, all with the correct spacing. At this point we will let the bees do their thing and put a new box underneath this one in the Warre method so that this eventually becomes a honey box and we can remove the braced comb when it's not being used as a nursery. We're going to split the colony in the Spring and make our own nuc and set up a Warre hive then. I'm still hoping to get bees from Roger Morash this year too and Steve's built me a couple of other boxes ready for when that happens. I'm also going to get some lemongrass oil, set it inside a closed and empty hive and see if I can't attract a swarm of my own that way.

Well, I should get back out to the garden. I've had a break now. The girls have their youth group tonight too at church. Will write soon. Elizabeth


  1. Cinnamon works to get rid of ants .
    I use essential oils ,10 drops in a spray bottle filled with water on the inside/outside of the house. I would try the powdered form for outside in the dirt/garden. Is there a Costco near by? They usually have the largest and cheapest container of cinnamon. Good Luck

  2. Thanks Barb. It's definitely worth a try. I think I can get another large cinnamon at Superstore for a reasonable price. I used diatomaceous earth with limited success so I'm willing to try something else.