Monday, April 30, 2012

and it starts now....

early saturday morning saw me out in the garden, roto-tilling the beds.  2 bags of chicken poo per bed  and 10 minutes with the mantis tiller and these beds are ready to grow.  11 of the 12 beds were raked smooth and ready for planting.

the twelfth was a little too close to the bee hives and the ladies werent in the proper disposition to allow me at the bed to finish it up. ah - another task for an early morning visit to the garden this week.

picture #1 - garden in flight, weeds piled up, beds roto-tilled but in disarray.

picture #2 - ready for seeds.

tomatoes go in - starting tonight.

Monday, April 23, 2012

#7 - picked up in rescue

got the call from a friend in rescue and was able to grab this swarm before i went out on a date with my wife.  nice swarm, i have the perfect spot for it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

and yet a couple more

picked up a swarm last friday in folsom and another yesterday in diamond springs.  they arent not big, but they were added to the inventory.

this should just about do it for the year.  i am plum out of swarm boxes and i havent had time to combine them.

i wonder if there is anyone out there that has room for a swarm to adopt? 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

a couple more swarms

my hives let loose with a couple more swarms this weekend.  fortunately, they landed in a pine tree on my hill - not too high, so they were reachable.

the top picture is actually the smaller of the two - the bottom one was a nice fattie that dropped easily into the nuc hive.  these are text book swarms, which make hiving up real easy.

first you squirt them up with sugar water - this gets thier attention directed to cleaning themsleves up and being wet  - there are fewer flyers to contend with.  place the hive directly under the branch, a quick shake and usually the swarm drops right into the box.

i gathered a third swarm late sunday   - yes, they were from my hives also and my neighbor called to report the wayward girls partying on our common fence.  they were hived up too - but i failed to get a picture of that one.

i am about done for swarms in 2012.

Friday, April 13, 2012

2012 swarm season has started

received a few calls - picked up a swarm in shingle last weekend and this one in my backyard the same day.  i know of two other swarms issued from my hives - didnt see them take off, but saw the aftermath.  both - they were fatties - 30 feet up in my neighbors pine trees.

hoping he didnt see them before they took off to thier new home.

always a challenge, but for some reason i like the bugs; stingers and all....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

they are getting bigger

tomatoes continue to do well, really looking forward to getting them into the ground.

Friday, March 2, 2012

2012 tomato seedlings sneak peak

they have sprouted!  2012's tomato dream-team is working hard to be ready for planting in early may.  flatlanders know official tomato planting day is april 28 - but at 1800 foot elevation, its a crap-shoot even in may.

this year will see 14 tomato plants.


yep, remember when i had 41 in the ground.  well that has dwindled over the past 3 years, as i found out more isnt necessarily better.  i have 12 raised beds and used 6 for the tomatoes - and i did cram in 41 plants.  year 2 saw 36, last year was 25.  i found cramped plants, rotting tomatoes i couldnt get to fast enough - and really, i think i will have more than enough with this number. and to top it off, water isnt cheap and i need to be a better steward of it.

its going to be 14 going forward.  here is the list of 2012 varieties i will be planting:

cherokee purple - a great heirloom, in my garden every year

first prize - new variety i am trying - hybrid

black pear - new variety i am trying - heirloom

Japanese black trifele - first tried in 2011 and was great, should be planted every year - heirloom

black prince - new variety i am trying - heirloom

boxcar willie - new variety i am trying - heirloom

carbon - new variety i am trying - heirloom

early girl - my usual go-to for an early variety, some years isnt as early as planned - hybrid

sun gold - no garden is complete with out this cherry variety, its sweet like candy, a must have - hybrid

black zebra - my all time favorite. - hybrid

black zebra - so good its the only one i have two of in my garden - hybrid

super fantastic - good consistent producer, planted every year - hybrid

champion 2 - good consistent producer, planted every year - hybrid

Frontyard Freebee - variety for 2012 unknown, but this comes from my favorite local nursery and who doesnt like a freebee?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

our resident squirrel

meet bob t. squirrel.  he lives in our backyard.

orchard prep for 2012

spent the day planting some bare root fruit trees and doing general orchard cleanup to make her all pretty for the year. 

trucked in 2 yards of compost to improve the generally poor soil i have.  the compost is added every year or two - that is the raised bedding areas along the tree rows. 

51 fruit trees in that little orchard.