Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recycled polycarbonate sheeting is great!!

We have just eaten our first courgette and peas of the season thanks to recycled polycarbonate cloches and old glass doors;
Peas in a glass door cloche (overwintered with a row of carrots)

Polycarbonate cloche

First courgette from a plant in a polycarbonate cloche

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Queen Rearing update

The first weeks efforts was a failure due to the queen from the breeding stock hive managing to end up in the (supposedly!) queen-less hive with the grafted queen cups (don't ask how!!) Have now made a second attempt to do the same process.  Else where the drought is worrying me, I am using the well we opened up last year to water where needed and we still have stocks of rainwater from the winter.  We watered the (over 200!) new trees in the wood yesterday with rainwater from home (the soil there was still remarkably moist under the mulch of leaves.  We have our first tomato flowers in the solar greenhouse and baby courgettes on the outdoor (under cloches) courgettes.  Loving it!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Queen rearing

Today (on the last warm day of this week!) I am starting my queen rearing process.  I confined the queen in the hive I want to breed from in a part of her hive (with a frame made from queen excluder plastic) and today I hope to take the comb of hatching eggs (she should have laid!!!) and make strips  of comb with eggs in to put into a queen-less hive, I will rub out two cells out of every three in a row to make more room for the bees to make the (larger) queen cells .  I am hoping the bees will make these remaining cells into queen cells.  If all goes well I will put the sealed queen cells into some mini hives (stocked with a cup full of bees each!!) and hope to have a supply of mated queens in about a month to use when needed.  Lots of things could go wrong so wish me luck!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I love spring

Twenty One degrees yesterday!  My first beekeeping day of 2011 - I went through the 13 hives that went into the winter and the results were better than I had hoped for.  Eleven hives with a brood laying queen, one hive with bees but no queen or brood (I put a comb of eggs into the hive to give them a chance of making a queen cell) one hive dead - lots of food cause of death unknown.
Also the first broody hen - our bantam (a good reliable mother) now sitting on eight eggs.  And (would you believe it!!) our first courgette flower; on a plant under a large cloche made from recycled polycarbonate.   The tomato plants in the greenhouse and polytunnel are up to a foot tall and there is blossom everywhere, I love spring.