The bees have left the hive and are coming back with pollen! Here’s the comings and going at one hive entrance. I give them serious accolades for being the first hives (kept by our small three beekeeper collective) to make it in through the winter since I talked my own mum into this four years ago. This is not to say we are entirely out of the woods yet but our very industrious bees were out gathering water and finding pollen in the barren landscape of LaFox in March. Our best guess is that they stumbled upon a very large patch of crocuses, because they were coming in from the northeasterly direction with large granules of bright yellow pollen. We have a few around the yard, though it seemed they had not yet been discovered by the bees. They did find their way to water stored in small divots in an upturned five gallon honey bucket (salvaged from the bakery where I work part time). While it is very good that they are out foraging, I am still planning to feed them again soon, just as insurance for them to make it through March and have a little boost for the brood. And finally in bee news, I received a letter from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, confirming my order of two more packages of bees and alerting me to the pending postcard that will tell me when I can go pick up the ladies. Last year’s bee pickup was very cold and blustery, which is the nature of March and April, so my fingers are crossed that we’ll get a day more like today, sunny and 60’s.
Along with the bees, our little seedlings are off to a good start as well. In the past week, we started a total of 35 flats of seedlings, including onions, leeks, cabbages, kales, lettuces, celery, parsley, Asian greens, and spinach. For the time being, we “blocked” these starts out in the garage/backyard but have made arrangements to barter some greenhouse space starting sometime this week (hooray! Next best thing to having my own greenhouse). Blocking out trays or starts is just one method we’ve found works well for growing transplants. The soil blockers are relatively simple tools that squeeze wet potting mix into even sized cubes with a small divot on the top for the seed. I especially like this method because the close cubes help keep the moisture level up and the blocking tools eliminate need for extra plastic plant trays.
The first round of planting have all popped up and look quite darling, as newly sprouted plants do. All the brassicas still look very related, with only the cotyledons showing. Next week we’ll start the broccoli and cauliflower and with any luck, the peas and radishes will be planted out in the ground. That’s about about all for now from the Fox Plot, where the bees are speedy, the vegetables are greener, and the growers are ruthless to the ground squirrels.