Sunday, October 4, 2009

drones v. workers, cool weather garden, and kitty-be-gone

The cool weather garden was planted today! 

Most of us *erhm* got out of bed after going through the bowl of seeds (a bowl that holds all of the envelopes and seed packets).  The garden dirt was turned once more, and the planting started.

While doing the rest of the prep, we found some "parsley eating wankers!!!"  They were removed from the parsley and relocated.  Sadly, they had managed to eat through most of the leaves.  Brats!  We want to eat the parsley!

Tried something new with the popsicle stick labels - gave them a prep coat of red paint, wrote the name on with sharpie, and then gave them a clear coat.  Yes, the clear coat has glitter.  Even a garden can use a little flair.  ;)

Everything planted and watered.  Tools put away, deck and walkways swept, and garden refuse collected for the green bins.

The summer arugula and bell peppers were still growing strong, so they were left.  We worked the rest of the garden in around them.

The last step was rolling out this wire mesh that was hanging around the shed.  For reasons unknown, Mia has suddenly adopted this bit of yard as her new litter box.  The mesh will hopefully allow in plenty of water and light, but prevent any cat paws from scratching. 

Oh!  We planted our tomato plants in soil bags with their tops cut off this year.  It was a first time for us, and the goal was two-fold:  to make use of the stretch of ground that refuses to be fertile despite all the love and attention it's received, and to grow tomatoes without having the bushy plants choke out the other garden members.  The cool summer meant we had a lot of green tomatoes that were slow to redden.  Most folks in this area had the same results, or had fungus & mold problems.  I pulled the spent plants last weekend, and was impressed by the root systems.  I recommend this style with some modifications - the bags had some splitting, and a drip system was the way to go for watering. 

Back to today - took measurements of the garden and made a graph of the garden.  The garden measures 16' by 5'8".  (And be kind with judgement of my graph, there's a reason I work in Science and not art!)  The dark brown is the deck and path, and the grey is the house and walkways.  (in other words - the very definite physical boundaries!)  The white boxes are the pre-existing herbs and veggies.

Also threw together the days to germinate and harvest.  It's weird that everything should be up after a week, but we're looking at December for harvesting!  I do hope everything germinates.

On to the bees!  Last weekend I saw a teeny worker hanging out on the table.  She was fuzzy and had good looking wings, making me thing she was young.  After an hour, she hadn't moved.  I was concerned, she didn't seem to notice me as I moved around her, set a basket of harvest near her, etc.

Her listlessness got to me.  I decided to get a bit of honey and see if I could coax her to a meal and into feeling better.

Yay!  She liked the honey!  Not too long after she took some honey, she walked around the table a bit and then left.

Last, I caught a drone and a worker walking around on the sidewalk not too far from each other.

Good scale of how different in size these two are from each other.  The first time I saw a drone I was shocked.  "That bee is huge!"  The drones are getting fewer in numbers as the cooler weather approaches.

We are due for a harvest of at least two honey supers, maybe three.  The smell of honey is intense.  The bees are louder than usual, and they have been washboarding - all signs we've notice for them being out of space in their hive.  Time for us to help give them some space!


  1. Hey, bought a flat of jars (cheap) on Saturday.

  2. Great photos. Love the bee photos. The caterpillars are yellow swallowtail butterflies and they love parsley. We used to plant a row in the garden just for them.

  3. oh, nice about the jars! Christopher has a stack at his place for us as well.

    Barbara - thank you for letting me know what the catepillars are. I feel better about them eating the parsley, I've seen those butterflies around the yard often.