Clicking on any of the pictures will open them at full size in the browser window, which means you will have to use the 'back' button to return to the main pages, whereas clicking to the left or right of any picture will open them in a new window, if you fancy a closer look at any of the piccies we've posted! We've included a Google Earth satelite picture of our plots and this years planting plan at the bottom of the page, next to each other. If you choose the Earth view on the satelite image you can rotate the image until it is lined up with the planting plan, then use the arrows in the plan to scroll from Plot 2 to Plot 1.

Monday, May 17, 2010

17th May 2010 - Update, piccies & More Bees!!

Well, as promised, some pictures of the plots and an update! Plot 1 isnt looking too bad, as you can see in the picture! The left hand beds are cleared and planted, and the right hand ones are over halfway done, with courgettes under the poly cloches and cabbages under the green debris netting! We've 4 brassica beds (behind the greenhouse) and the 2 small beds (at the front) left to clear, plus a bit more to plant up, then move the compost bins from the rear of the plot and a plastic walk in temporary polytunnel is going there (to take the rest of the toms that Lee didnt think would germinate!), just behind the clear plastic 'short' hothouse that you can see behind the canes (towards the back) that was made from the frame of the old plastic walk in greenhouse that 'died' this winter!

Plot 2 on the other hand is a bit more of a work in progress! The greenhouse is planted up (see next piccy), with a salad bed next to it, then the onions and garlic, and the central beds are mainly planed with the spuds for this year (and fartichokes in their usual position behind the scarecrow of course!), but the first 2 beds (for late maincrop spuds) and the beds to the left (for sweetcorn n squash n pumpkins) are still to be cleared and planted!

We've planted the greenhouses with ring culture this year, and covered the flooring with weed control fabric, in the hopes that it will keep the weeds in their more managebale and delay any chances of blight occuring! We also took the decision not to plant peppers and aubergines with the toms, and have built them a hot house (I'll get a piccy of it soon for you!)

The strawberrys we moved this year, planting up the runners into pots and completely clearing the ground, in the hopes this will make the weeds easier to control and give us a better crop! Judging from the flowers they are producing, we may do ok with strawbs this year!

The garlic once again seems to be growing really well, tho we have had some problems with the first batch of onion sets, only about half of them grew this year, hence its a bit patchy, but we planted some spring sown sets where there were gaps, so hopefully all is not yet lost!

Through the spring Lee and Colin sorted the approach to our first apiary (on plot 2) and built some really neat steps, making it not only nicer to look at, but also much safer!

We've also finished the new apairy (number 2) which is located in the bottom right corner of plot 1! After splitting the 3 hives into 7 last week we put the 4 new nucleii into apiary 2.

We thought that was going to be it in terms of new colonies for at least a month (whilst they got themselves established), but Sunday afternoon (whilst I was merrily sowing seeds) there was a tremendous buzzing from apiary 1, and as I watched a swarm came out of hive 3 and settled in the trees to the right of plot 1! Fortunately we were able to capture the bees and rehome them in one of the nucleus boxes that Lee built this winter. On checking we did find a queen cell in hive 3 (along with enough bees for it to hopefully become a viable colony once the queen has been mated) which we must have missed when we inspected them on Thursday!

Lee went to the plot to water today, only to see a swarm of bees from outside our allotment make their way into the same trees as the swarm settled in yesterday!

Fortunately we were again able to capture this swarm and house it in another nuc box. On checking we are absolutely certain that this swarm has not come from any of our hives or nucleii, so it must be a swarm from another apiary or local beekeeper! (we are aware that there are beehives at a farm less than a mile away, perhaps thats where they have come from!) It seems strange to us both that we had a swarm of bees just turn up on the plot, free bees from somewhere else, but we're not looking a gift horse in the mouth and are hoping that they settle and stay with us! Perhaps word has gotten out amongst the bees locally that our apiary is a nice place to live! lol!

This brings our total number of colonies now to 9, the 3 that overwintered, 4 divisions from them, 1 swarm from hive 3 and another swarm of unknown origins! We are going to keep our original 3 colonies, plus the swarm from hive 3 and 2 more of the colonies, the others (plus any further divisions we get this year) will be sold to local beekeepers to help them recover from the losses over the winter that many suffered!

Hope you like the piccies, more updates to foollow soon!


dee said...

your plot no 2 is looking much better than mine :0)
Glad your back I've been looking forward to your updates

suzanne said...

thanks dee, it still needs a lot of work, but we're hoping to get it cleared and planted up by the end of the month, only 9 beds left to do, then clear n rebark up the paths n have a good tidy, and of course.... the weeding! lol!

we put our plastic walk in (wannabe) polytunnel up yesterday, at the back of plot 1, Im hoping to get some piccies up of it in the next few days!

Hope your plots are coming along nicely!