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Posts Tagged ‘Agriculture’

After much effort we’ve managed to build a new fence for the garden. I’ve repaired the garden beds that were damaged in the 2010 storm that also destroyed the fence and I’ve even expanded the garden a bit more by adding a new area where I’m growing some sunflowers as a trap crop for the brown marmorated stink bug – hopefully that works. As part of the work I’ve managed to identify a PVC pipe under the ground (I’ve know it was there for years – it allows for water near the carport of the house to drain out to the street and which I’ve known was broken in one spot) that has become completely blocked up. I’ve known about this issue but it wasn’t that bad over the years. Well…looks like I need to dig up the pipe (which I have pretty much done today) and replace about 10 to 12 feet of it. This is a big job (relatively speaking) as I will need to dig under the fence of the garden and replace a 10 to 12 foot section of 4 to 5 inch pipe. Oh well – at least it’s on my radar now.

Other than that things are going well in the garden – harvested a bunch of sage, weeded the herb garden on the side of the house and weeded a bunch around the main garden out front. We’ve harvested a bunch of zucchini (which I will use to make zucchini bread today) and we’ve got a couple of cabbages that are about ready to be picked. The sunflowers are going very well (next year I will start earlier and provide a bigger space) and the scarlet runner beans have recovered from the damage caused by the deer earlier who did get through the fence (I never knew that deer would go under a fence (which I have now rectified).

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Went and picked up the bees yesterday from Highland Honey and Apiaries in Gaithersburg, MD.  I bought two nucleus hives which were sealed tight (good thing since I drove there with my minivan and wasn’t sure how sealed the nucs were going to be).  It’s pretty amazing…25,000-30,000 bees in each nuc — when I was in the minivan and before I started the engine I could hear the buzzing in the nucs.

When we finally got home (I took a right turn off of Brink Rd. onto Goshen Rd. and it took me a while to get my bearings — which wasn’t helped by the fact that some roads near Shady Grove Metro were not marked as to their names) I put the nucs on the ground and then moved the hive stands and the hive bodies to the back of the property (I still need to clean that area up!).  Anyway, I then put the nucs next to each hive stand, got the smoker ready, put on the jacket and hood and opened up the hardware cloth to let the bees out for a little while (they had been cooped up in the nuc since 7:30 AM and it was about 1 PM when I was able to open the entrance of the nuc).

I let them be (no pun intended) for about an hour and then went outside to move the frames into the hive bodies.  I managed to get the frames moved into the hives pretty easily although I did get stung about 3 times in all (my family was watching near by and my two daughters each got stung once as well because the a bee was stuck in their hair).  I was stung in the right thumb, the left hand lower palm (towards the outside of the palm) and in the pinky of my left hand.  My right thumb is still swollen and hot (although the tenderness has gone away) but my left palm and pinky are just fine.  I managed to get the stinger out of each using the hive frame tools and smoked the sting site so that it wouldn’t attract other bees to sting.  All in all it was an interesting start.

After I got the frames into the hives I shook the nucs to dump out as many bees into the hive and then put on the hive top feeders.  I made about 4 gallons of syrup (1:1) and poured that into the feeders, covered up the hives and left the bees alone to calm down.  Some pictures of yesterday’s fun are below.

One thing that I definitely do need to get done soon is to level the hives (they’re on a bit of a slope and I want to make sure that they’re as level as possible).  I’ll cut some of the extra wood I have left over from when I made the hive stands and I’ll use that as shims.  Other than that I think I should just leave them alone for now.  I don’t want to disturb them too much other than to check that they’re eating syrup or just to make sure there are bees coming in and out of both hives.

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My nucleus hives will be available for pick-up on Sunday…woohoo!  I’ve got the hive bodies built, bottom boards, entrance reducers, the hive top feeders came in this week, the smoker and smoker fuel, the jacket and hood and 20 out of 40 frames built (I’m using duragilt this year).  I even built myself my own hive stands.  And today I received my Maryland Department of Agriculture Certificate for Bee Colony Registration for 2009.  Now I just need the bees!

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