J&N Homestead

Our Urban Homesteading Story

Month: May 2016

Garden beds are done and planting has begun!

IMG_20160507_120508004_HDRWe have finally finished the major construction and setup of our new garden and have it to the point that we are able to start transplanting the plants we started from seed into the beds. It’s been a long arduous journey but man I think the results speak for themselves!

As you can see, there isn’t much green just yet but boy it’s been a rainy and cold spring so once the weather finally starts to get and stay warm, I think things will start growing like crazy! We ended up tweaking the placement of several crops and I think the final placement is perfect. If you guys are interested, we used the vegetable garden planner from Mother Earth News, it’s a great deal and a great service, highly recommended!

We have a few things that didn’t make the date for the “Phase 1” cutoff so I expect I’ll have quite a few garden-related projects this summer, which should keep me busy. None of this could have been accomplished without the thankless help of my family, they really helped push this to completion when I was running out of steam. In the end, the family was able to build an amazing home garden that I hope will provide many years of food and more importantly, family memories!

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OH MY! The queen is dead!

IMG_20160516_121949037_HDRSo during the hive inspections today I found some terrible signs in one of our bee hives. One of our packages has lost its queen! She was in there last week but it looks like she has been gone for several days, no eggs or young larvae were present and after two separate inspections, no queen was found. There were lots of signs to support the fact that the hive was queenless, queen cups were everywhere but I suspect the loss was sudden as they had no capped queen cups or emergency queen cells since they clearly didn’t have young enough larvae to rear into a new queen. Luckily there was some capped brood and brood of different ages present to help the population through the process of introducing a new queen to the hive. The only question was how quickly I could get a new queen and where should I purchase one?

Well, I decided to make the short drive and pick up a queen from the same great guy who sold me my nuc this year. She’s an Italian/Carniolan mutt and unmarked but she was ready and available to be put into the hive on Monday. I may go through the pain of marking her myself, but at this point, I’m happy to just have her in the hive and getting acclimated to her new home. Being a new beek and having to go through this was a tad stressful but it’s part of keeping bees and it’s a great learning experience!

I posted a rather long video on youtube of my process of introducing a new queen to the hive. The most amazing and interesting part starts at 13:43.

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