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.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Late February 2011 - Piccies, Beekeeping and the Twig Kettle in use!

 We managed to get to the plot on Thursday last week, to continue with rebarking up the paths and doing some clearing up, but with the weather so lovely (14C and glorious springlike sunshine), we noticed the Bees were really busy, so after taking a few piccies of how the plots are coming along we decided (along with Pat and Colin) to remove the mouseguards and allow the girls a bit easier access to the outside world!

 As you can see, the newly relaid bark paths on plot 2 look great, really tidy the plot up a lot, shame that we've temporarily run out of them at the moment, so we cant get plot 1 done until some more chippings are delivered by the council (hopefully for this weekend)

 The overwintering garlic and onions are coming up nicely (we were late planting them this year, normally they are in in October, but this year it was late December before the first 3 batches of onions and the garlic were put in!

 As you can see, the bees were very busy, this piccy was of one of the quieter hives, some of the entrances looked as though there was a swarm in progress with the amount of bees trying to come and go through the mouseguards! The flying bees were not only fetching water (to mix with the honey), but also bringing home pollen, possibly crocus, willow or maybe even maple!

 After donning our beesuits we removed the mouseguards (they stop any mice from raiding the hive in the winter when the bees are huddled together) which allows the girls a lot easier access!

 Once we'd removed the mouseguards we did a quick inspection to check that the hives all had enough stores left, on opening them we were amazed by just how many bees were in each hive, really busy and full of bees, and plenty of stores left too!

 Closer up, plenty of bees in there!

We also got the chance to play with our new kettle, I placed the base on top of an upturned hanging basket (to raise it from the floor, make it a bit more stable (less likely to be knocked over), easier for us to 'feed' and to increase the wind flow), which worked really well, although it is now permanently attached, as the plastic covering on the hanging basket melted and welded the base to the upturned basket! Ooops!

I have to say we were both impressed with its performance, once the fire was going it only took about 6 minutes to boil 1 1/2 litres of water, quite comparable with a gas camping stove, and a lot more fun to play with (as well as being a lot 'greener'!

Our chilli, pepper, aubergine and first tomato seedlings are now in the unheated greenhouse in the back yard, fortunately the greenhouse is located against the south facing garage wall (concrete), which acts as a heat sink, soaking up the sunshine thru the day, then radiating the warmth back into the greenhouse at night, without this passive solar heating (which was acchieved inadvertantly) we may well have lost a few of the seedlings in last nights frost!

Today we are going to be sowing more seedlings, brassicas, herbs, toms and anything else that we can at this time of year, ready for transplanting to the plot once the weather has warmed up a bit more!

Hope your preparations for the coming growing year are going well!