Monday, February 8, 2016

COVERED RAISED BEDS AND BEEHIVE UPDATES

First, I checked the raised beds...took the tops off to check them and so far so good when it comes to them being greenhouses for weeds.  No real weeds to speak of, there were a few small ones in a couple of beds but with he addition of the rich soil/compost and keeping them covered, they pulled out in about 2 seconds.  I'm hoping that because the cold weather has hit, that is something we won't have to worry about for the rest of this off season.

Raised beds with covers
There was one issue I didn't think about though, rainwater!


Rainwater on raised bed covers
I think I'll have to either drill a few holes, or perhaps just put something under one edge to give them a slight angle, just enough for the water to run off.

But either way, so far so good!  The soil looks good and rich and things are moving along nicely!  I've been thinking of ordering some worms for a few of the beds and let them get a start.  

Now we are planning the garden plants.  We're starting small this year, to keep it manageable and not become overwhelming. Will probably just use four of the raised beds at first.  One with herbs and the others with a few veggies.  


Baby steps, right?


Next, the bees.  A few weekends ago, I was out at the farm, it was cold and damp and I checked the remaining beehive and nothing...no bees going in and out, no activity at all. I was worried, being a new beek (short for beekeeper), we often don't know what to look for, what happens every month of the year etc.  Every book you read can give anecdotes and advice but having minds of their own, you never really know.  And we were worried, especially after the tipping incident a couple of months ago.  




When I saw no activity, I was afraid we had lost them.  I decided to peek inside (yeah, what can I say, I used to peek into my stocking at Christmas too, ha).  I tilted the middle box ever so slightly and there they were, all bundled into a ball, keeping the queen, and the rest of the hive, warm.  Yay!  I carefully lowered the box and kept my fingers crossed.  


And in great news...




...here they are this weekend, coming and going in the beautiful Spring-like weather.  They have survived!!  While we could (and probably will) have another freeze, I'm hoping it's safe to say that they've made it now for almost a year.  We have a second package of bees already ordered and it will arrive in April.  Ariadne Hive will have a new neighbor in a few months.



Bee bed earlier this season
For those new to the blog, our ultimate goal is six hives, two each in three beds like this (we call them bee beds, just like flower beds).  The photo above is from earlier this year when we had them both up and running.  It is 8' long by 4' wide and filled with mulch.  It keeps the grass down and gives me an "edge" to go around with the mower (quickly!).

More baby steps, right?


Hope your weekend was good!


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24 comments:

Margaret said...

Well, thank goodness your bees were ok. I think drilling little holes would be a great idea; I'm not sure how windy it gets there, but if we were to elevate one end of a plastic sheet like that without securing it (i.e. with a hinge or something), the entire piece would likely blow right off!

It's all a bit of a learning curve, isn't it, much like everything else when it comes to the garden!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

if you drill holes you won't waste that precious rain water! if you ever sell your honey what would you name it? what good news about the bees!

Sandy said...

1st Man,

I love the idea of covering the beds up to help with growth in the cold and prevent massive amounts of weeds. If you drill holes you will loose the warmth inside the garden bed, don't know if that will make a difference or not for your garden. If you raise a section for the water to drain, you could capture this water in a container for future watering.

Gail said...

What do the bees eat this time of year? Flowers blooming?

FionaG said...

If you scratch the weeds out and leave them, they will add nutrients back into the soil. I'm a bit envious as your beds look so neat and tidy. Our garden is in the midst of being pulled down and moved so nothing but weeds as high as the waist. When do you get to collect your honey? I bet your itching to try your first batch!!

Elephant's Child said...

Yay for the bees.
I have a worm farm. And I love it. The worm water is great for all sorts of plants, and the casting improve soil as well. All our kitchen scraps which aren't meat, onions or citrus goes to the worm farm.

anne marie in philly said...

happy bees!

Texan said...

Glad to hear your bees where still there! I am trying hard to get my hives done. I am well as they say swimming upstream with out a paddle on time these days LOL... but if not this spring for sure next as I will get them painted and stands by then. Honeyman says he can have the welders weld me some stands! He knows some through work so that is the plan on the stands. Main thing. We are all moving forward right! :O).

krayolakris said...

Thanks thanks for being a kind beekeeper!

Texas Rose said...

I'm so glad that you don't have weeds in your vegetable garden and that you do have bees in your bee garden! What a good feeling that things are working as they should.

Alison said...

Yay! The bees made it! I'm very happy to hear the news. It was a beautiful weekend wasn't it.

Colleen said...

You might consider getting something like this to raise up your plastic sheeting you have over your raed beds. Just secure the stipping on top edge of your raised bed and it just might enough to have the water run off your sheeting.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Palruf-36-in-White-Horizontal-Foam-Closure-Strips-5-Pack-92521/100049309?cm_mmc=Shopping%7cTHD%7cG%7c0%7cG-BASE-PLA-D22-Roofing%7c&gclid=CL6M8cHp68oCFVE0aQodW-ECzw&gclsrc=aw.ds

Nice to see the bees are still doing well

1st Man said...

you know I didn't think about that but yeah, wind could blow up under there and they would 'sail away' ha. Thanks for the reminder. I think the holes will be good. And yes, it's DEFINITELY a learning curve.

1st Man said...

Great point!!! I wish I could figure out how to recycle it, like on a roof. Honey naming...ahh, that's the big unknown, we've toyed with all sorts of names. We'l have to figure that out one of these days, ha.

1st Man said...

Dang, thats a good point too. Although, the warmth isn't SO bad, but it is something to consider. I'd love to figure out a way to capture that rain, though I bet it would fill up fast, ha.

1st Man said...

They do forage a bit, if things are blooming, but for the most part, this is why you don't harvest all the honey, there is supposed to be honey left for them to live on during the Winter when there aren't other sources of food readily available. I'm sure they are loving this Winter though, mild and flowers blooming, ha.

1st Man said...

I never knew that. There have been a few, small ones, I've tossed them in a pile, didn't realize they could go back in. Yes, they look neat and tidy but around them is getting to be a jungle again.

Honey gets collected after Spring...for us probably June-ish. Stay tuned!!

1st Man said...

A worm farm is cool! I have heard about worm water. I have looked into that and might consider it. Worms do a good thing for sure! Thanks for the advice!!

1st Man said...

Happy Beekeeper! LOL!

1st Man said...

Hey, every step forward, no matter how many or how large or small, is forward movement! So it's all good! I wish I knew a welder, so many idea, ha. You'll get there! Our bees were supposed to be in 2014, but other commitments meant we put it off to 2015. Hang in there! (and p.s. thank you SO much for the email, will be replying soon!)

1st Man said...

Aww, well that's very sweet, thank you!!!

1st Man said...

That's a good thing huh? No weeds and lotsa bees! ha. Yes, things definitely unfolding correctly, so far!!!

1st Man said...

Yes, thank you so much. We'll introduce you soon, I promise!! Oh my the weekend was so nice. I'm hoping it is again this weekend, I really REALLY need to get the farm house cleaned up. It's a disaster!!

1st Man said...

I was giong to roam around in the hardware store this might just work! It just needs to be a slight angle but not let wind under. This would work. You are awesome! I could still drill holes, or, Spring is coming, I might take them off, ha. Well no, wait, I will take them off the beds we use but probably not the ones that are unused so they stay weed free.