Today I had a call from Lincolnshire Pride Magazine, asking me to do a feature on Natural Beekeeping, but had to decline, as I haven’t time to spare. Everything needs doing yesterday, and after a weekend away with my son, I’m already behind.
Jobs that are behind include the start of my scything season, the cutting of comfrey and nettles for liquid feed, soaking bean seeds, potting on of trees, shrubs, and vegetables, putting out additional bait hives, planting Eucalyptus, and of course keeping up with posts on the blog.
Although some of the delay has been family related, much of it has simply been not enough time. With the tree planting taking up so much time over this Winter, I didn’t make up any bait hives. That is now an issue. I have three out at the moment. One here, and two about 400 meters away. The two distant ones are to attract my own bees if I miss a swarm, whilst the one here is to collect other swarms, and as a comparison. If the remote two are active, and the home one isn’t, it’s likely to be my bees that are getting ready to swarm, whereas if they are all busy, it’s likely to be bees from another source. i would like another two out, and also need to make some spare hives up, ready for any of my own swarms.
Normally I would have started scything by now. I start with the weeds around the vegetable growing area, and then start to mow grass. Luckily this year there is less to do. I also intend to take it easy. I’m not making hay, nor do I need to keep the grass short for sheep, so I can mow it in my own time.
I have just bought a Japanese sickle for cutting comfrey, nettles etc. As soon as |I catch up on some of the other jobs, especially some of the weeding, I’m going to give it a try. Meanwhile, I’m giving the handle a good coating of Linseed oil.
Normally I’m far too early starting off bean seeds, and they get too long, and tangled up before I plant them out. The last frost date here is the first week in June, although last year almost all of May was fine. I’m making some DIY cloches out of weldmesh, covered in bubble wrap. I have lots of each lying around. I intend to use them to get sweetcorn out early, to allow it to get tall enough to act as a support for the beans. Somebody said that nobody in this country has successfully grown the ‘Three Sisters’, so that’s one of my tasks for this year. The corn is already almost a foot tall, so I am going to plant it out tomorrow, and hope for reasonable weather, under the cloches. I’ve made planting mounds for it, with a plastic bottle to act as a funnel for watering.
On the positive side, I’ve had good germination of tree and shrub seed, with Italian Alder, False Acacia, Bladder Senna, Amur Cork Tree, Paulownia, Manna Ash, Mahonia, Amelanchier, Evodia, Box Elder, Liquidambar, Honey Locust, Nettle Tree, Persimmon, and Japanese Pagoda tree, all coming through.
Vegetable seed has also done well, but the success also means more potting on. I thought that I had about forty False Acacia seedlings in a tray, to pot on, but two hours later, there were well over a hundred.
The bamboo is also showing signs of good health, with most cuttings producing growth. I took some pictures this evening, and will put them in a post later this week.
Finally, I have a book to review for Permaculture Magazine, and a Compost Tea article to write for them too.
I’m going to leave this post now, as I want to make an early start tomorrow.