Thursday, April 28, 2011

swarm call #4

Site Location: Rancho Cordova
Swarm Location: 6 feet up a tree on a branch (perfect)
Time invested in collection: 45 min on site; 45 min driving (total 1.5 hours)

This swarm was combined with my weak overwinter hive (hiveA) last night.
Hypothesis: combining the swarm will increase the population of the weak hiveA. expected results include: increased honey flow from this hive/swarm mix versus other 2 colonies which are swarm only.

Notes: HiveC, is a combination of 2 swarms one small one & one medium. Both swarms combined into hiveC were established within a week of each other ~April5, April9 (from collections in Natomas - Bill Bird). HiveB was another swarm collected March 27th (I think) from Bill Bird in Natomas. HiveB, is a single strong swarm. All hives have been consistently fed sugar water on a 2:1 ratio.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tomato transplants

Today was the day to transplant tomatoes. Things went pretty smoothly this year until I realized I used the acronym BB for 3 types of tomatoes: better boy, bloody butcher and big beef. Luckily, I had written down what I planed in each flat, so determining what was what wasn't very difficult. Too bad I didn't think of this before I move stuff around. Luckily, I caught this before finishing Big Beef (the last one). So, there is only a 50/50 chance that BB is better boy or bloody butcher. Normally, I write down the days to maturity on all seedlings too (as seen below). But I lapsed. So we are stuck with a 50/50 shot here. Every year will get better. So, I'm looking forward to next year. Oops!

| Flat 1
| Name -- Days
Early Wonder -- 55
Early Girl -- 52
Sun Gold -- 57
Bloody Butcher -- 55
Sugary -- 60
Polpig -- 55-60

| Flat 2
Sweet Million -- 65
Big Beef -- 73
Champion -- 70
Isis Lady -- 67 (2 of 6 propogated)
Striped Cherry -- 70
Super Fantastic -- 70

| Flat 3
Cherokee Purple -- 80
First Light Hybrid -- 76
Lillians Heirloom -- 90
Black -- 80-85
Japanese Black Triefel-- 85
Ananas Noir -- 80 (2 of 6 propogated)

| Flat 4
Better Boy -- 75
Black Seaman -- 75
Black Zebra -- 75
Zebra Cherry -- 70
Sweet Million -- 65 (duplicate planting)

Flor De Oro Apiary

One of the most experienced beekeepers I know is a guy who lives across the street from me. This gentlemen has decades experience in the bizz and knows all the buzz. The best part is he's eager to offer advice. So when I called him yesterday talking bee's he was willing to provide some keen insight. It seems that the one hive that failed was probably due to the small swarm size that simply didn't build up enough resources before the winter hit. The population wasn't big enough & they most likely starved out. A hive with no honey made this pretty obvious, when I opened it. But until this conversation, the mystery remained. It's great to live in the country.

As an added bonus, the B man on my A list, said he would call me if he got any swarm calls. He's too busy to get to the swarms. So this is a great potential boost to the startup of my apiary. It's almost time to come up with a creative name, like naked ladies apiary.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Potato Pals

Sam (6) & Jacob (4) helped cut the seed potato's early this morning. Sam kept trying to cut with the flat edge & Jacob was dutifully correcting. It was pretty funny to watch. We have the Blue & yellow fin seed potato's from peaceful valley. I found a good article from Mother Earth News about planting potato's. We'll be using the stout method, with our composted chicken manure & bedding (pine shavings & straw). This stuff is at the turning point with only bits of the straw remaining identifiable, which should add good aeration for the potato's. Straw, for those of you who may not already know, takes forever to compost.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

seedlings planted

Tomato seedlings were planted on 2/14 (last night)-- truly the best V-Day in history. I changed my process to water from the bottom and spray the tops to moisten the soil. Then I closed the grow trays to let the humidity & absorption go to work. All heat mats & lights are working, and the lights came on with the timer this AM. Life is good.