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Posts Tagged ‘rain barrels’

Checked on the girls again this afternoon. The hive on the left is just buzzing with activity — and I mean buzzing! I’m seeing workers and drone but I don’t want to take the hive apart at the moment to start hunting down possible queen cells. It’s the middle of the nectar flow and they are going great guns. I’ve added another super with 10 new frames (wax foundation – not trying plastic yet and certainly not using Duragilt) to the hive on the left. The hive on the right seems to be sluggish – it’s starting to get more active but it’s behind the other hive in terms of the number of bees as well as activity. I’m leaving the Brood Builder patty in there (they’ve only eaten about 1/3 of it – the other hive has polished it off completely) and will check again in a week. Don’t know if it’s worth putting another super on until next Friday. We shall see.

In other news I’ve built two Salad Boxes using the University of Maryland’s instructions found here as well as started on a Salad Table. Some pictures of the Salad Boxes are here:

I still need to finish the Salad Table but I’m really stoked about these salad boxes. I’ve got a lot of other garden projects to complete including finishing digging the garden beds, finishing the rain barrels, and expanding the garden to add one or two more beds this year. Lots to do!

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Last night we had a tremendous downpour here in the D.C. area. We had a total of 2.5″ of rain (according to the rain gauge out in the garden). The ground is just plain wet. I went out to check on my bees to see how they fared in the storm (we were expecting high winds and possible hail as well but that doesn’t appear to have occurred). When I got to the hives I saw no activity at all as far as foraging is concerned (it’s only 61 degrees out there right now so I’m guessing the girls aren’t too happy right now). Anyway, I shot a couple of pictures using the telephoto lens on my camera to post showing how they’re huddling at the entrance to the hive.

On a different note, the garden beds are just soaked. However, the plants look good and hopefully the next few days, when we’re expecting more rain, won’t drown them! The only thing that irks me is that I don’t have my rain barrels in place!

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We’ve been raising the garden beds using the same material that we used to make the beds last year. I went to Community Forklift in Edmonston, MD (near Hyattsville) and bought all of the composite deck boards that they had left and I’ve been building the next level of the beds. The total height of the raised beds is now 1 ft above the ground. We’ve forked the soil in the beds (last year we double dug each of the beds but the soil has compacted significantly over the winter so that it’s pretty much clay once more) and we’ve now gotten two out of four beds planted. We still have two more to do before we start expanding the garden.

The bee hives appear to be doing well. The bees have plenty of food with the hive top feeders and they’ve been building out comb on the new frames. They’ve even been building burr comb in the crawl space in the hive top feeders. I’ll have to put in a queen excluder between the feeder and the top of the frames so that the queen won’t lay brood in the burr comb. The nectar flow seems to be going well as I only had to refill one of the feeders with syrup — the other one appears to still be about half full. I did manage to see the queen in one of the hives which was reassuring. I’ll be checking again in a couple of days as soon as the rains stop.  One thing I did definitely notice is that the hive on the right is definitely stronger than the one on the left…it worries me a little bit since I’m concerned that the one on the left may have to be merged with the one on the right before the winter in order to improve their survival chances.  Still, it’s early in the summer and there should be enough time for them to strengthen sufficiently to go into the winter strong enough to survive.

One thing we did do, however, is transplant the peppermint, spearmint, and lemon balm from one of the garden beds and plant them near the hives. Turns out bees go nuts for mint and lemon balm and I’m hoping that the smell will help control tracheal mites (should they appear).

Other projects include moving the butterfly bush and the bee balm plants, after they’ve finished blooming, from just behind the garden to another location in the front yard so we can expand the garden into that area.  And I still need to finish the two rain barrels.  It rained buckets a couple of days ago and the barrels are nowhere near ready to be installed so all that rain just washed away…bummer.

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