Bees, seeds and baby plants..

Posted September 8th, 2013 by Rob Bob : )»

Native bees & generous new friends...
Yesterday we went & picked up 2 pre-cut IBCs from a very generous family that have no further need for them.. Their yard is in the process of being set up with a few different styles of garden beds on the go.. They have loads of potted food plants ready to go into their new homes & have a couple of chooks in a great looking chicken tractor..
Not long after we arrived, a few native bee hives were pointed out to us.. Some were in logs rescued from trees destined for the chipper & others in small hives specially made for native bees.. As it is coming up to the warmer weather an offer was made to let us see how a hive is split.. This allows for more bee & honey production.. It was a most unexpected experience & loved getting a short lesson in keeping native bees :)»

To start off with, a putty knife was used to break the seal between the 2 halves of the hive & the top was removed from the base..
The inside of the hive was not as I expected.. The central spiral of cells held the brood with the larger cells around the outside holding the honey & pollen stores that looked to be about 10-15mm in diameter.. The white larvae you see on top of the comb were dislodged from their cells when the hive was separated..

A new centre part of the box was then placed onto the old base & then the lid was added.. The top ½ of the original box was placed onto a new base..

A hive lock was then used to secure all the frames together tightly & the freshly divided hives were then placed back into their original position (pointing towards the NE) with the openings placed close together.. Once they are happy that both hives had a decent number of bees going into each of them, one will be slowly relocated to another section of the yard.. A juvenile queen will be raised in the queen less hive & the whole process will begin again.. From what I have read the hive can be ready to split once more in 8-12 months depending on the health of the hive..
On the drive home we fairly much decided that we would get a hive, so that too has been added to the wish list.. I ended up searching the web for a few hours last night for more information instead of blogging :/» As soon as the finances become available I think we will start shopping around to see if there are any available..
Am still really buzzed from meeting such a nice family that have the drive to grow as much food as they can for themselves.. So thanks again Alex & family for the IBCs, the lesson & tour of you patch..

We hope that the seeds & plants we gave you grow really well :)»

Growing's on in the patch...
Has been a fair bit of growth in the patch this week with the first shoots emerging from the new beds out the front..
The majority of the Aztec corn & all the bush cucumbers that were planted last Friday have sprouted.. Was a bit unsure of the cucumbers as I didn't have the best germination rates with them at the end of last Summer..

The Yacon that were planted out last Sunday have settled in rather nicely to their new home & have even put on some nice growth.. A couple of Mini Lee watermelon seeds were also planted out in the bed with them just to see how they go together.. I still have the yacon plants in the barrel out the back & some leftover rhizome in the coconut fibre that I intend to transplant into another bed in the coming week..

The tomato seedlings have shot up well & were potted out into larger containers this morning.. The capsicum & eggplants aren't quite large enough to be potted out yet but they are always a bit slower at coming on I have found.. I hope to start cleaning out & feeding up the beds that will be their new home this week.. One of these beds is the one that has the last cauliflower crop in it.. Am very happy with how they are going at the moment.. 4 of them have starting to form up some rather nice heads..
I think some might bolt to seed with the coming warmer weather but think we should get at least ½ out of the bed before then..

Our youngest daughter, Kira (AKA Koo) was given a bed in the front yard to plant out.. She selected all the seeds & layout of the bed herself..

I think she made a great selection & we found a few of the seeds had sprouted this morning when we did a bit of a walk around :)»

Happy Harvest from the patch...

Decided to pull the potatoes this week that we had growing in a no dig style bed out the front..
We have never had much luck growing spuds before so was most impressed with the 4.3kg yield we got.. This was a bit of an impulse planting we did of 6 spuds from the pantry back in May.. I think that all our spuds shall be grown using this method from now on..

Also harvested the galangal from a wicking bed that is being removed to make way for the aquaponic expansion.. I haven't weighed it up but going on previous harvest I think we have over 3kg/6½lb of useable rhizome with the small pile (on the left) will be used to propagate new plants for others.. 2 lots of rhizome have already found new homes, 1 lot to Alex & the others going to a visitor interested in aquaponics..

Other than the roast, served with an AWESOME tasting batch of home grown potato salad (thanks Koo), all this week's meals have all been served with a side of green or chopped salad picked fresh from the patch..

We did lash out & get take away twice this week but that is a very rare happening here..

Well that's about it for this week..
Hope you all get a chance to play in the patch over the coming week..

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