…and the bees love it too.
Want to grow spinach? We have been wildly unsuccessful in growing it, but guess what…steamed turnip greens taste just like spinach. It turns out they are very easy to grow and are good for you too. This was supposed to be a mixture of several cover crop seeds, Fava beans, Winter Rye, and Hairy Vetch included. It looks like the turnips took over. Uh, I might have broadcast them a little thick. My “solar-roller water pump panel” is positioned for the afternoon sun. Gotta keep the flow going.🙂
Turnip flowers in January provide nourishment for bees in the critical winter months.
October 8…This bed was planted August 1. Turnips grow fast. Plant them thick, then you can harvest the thinnings by steaming the greens. Leave a few to go to flowers in winter.
We’ve been getting three crops a year in our raised beds. This was lettuce last winter, then kale, now turnips. In between we bury crab shell when we can get it. This being October, that resource will soon be gone.
Oct. 10…My sweetheart made a delicious turnip soup for dinner this evening. These turnips were planted in early August. They grow fast!!!
Oct. 8…just in case we haven’t planted enough turnips, here is another bed started…complete with drip water grid.
Oct. 15…Turnips are up already. The shade cloth is to protect the little darlings from the hurricane force winds and 12-18 inches (300-450mm) of rain that was forecast…didn’t happen, at least, not yet.
Turnip soup recipe
Chop an onion, saute in olive oil, add 4 to 5 cups of peeled chopped turnips, two garlic cloves (peeled and cut in half), add two teaspoons of smoked paprika, and teaspoon of thyme leaves. Cook until lightly brown, add three cups of vegetable or chicken broth, salt to taste. Bring to boil and simmer until veggies are cooked. Blend in blender, return to pan, add a cup of milk, or milk alternative.
Posted in Bee to Flower relationship, Bee Video, Bee-loving flowers, Bumblebees, Gardening, Growing flowers for bees, Macro bee video, Natural Beekeeping, Videos | Tagged bee-loving flowers, beekeeping, bees on Oregon Coast, Gardening, Gardening tips, honey bees, natural beekeeping, raised beds, turnip soup recipe | 5 Comments »
The bees have been busy and so have we. Gerard Van Duinen of La Tabú (The Hague) graciously let us use his Tango music.
Posted in Bee Video, Bee-loving flowers, Bumblebees, Butterflies, Crab spider, Macro bee video, Music video, Warre Hive, Wasps | Tagged African Blue Basil, Bee Speckled dahlia, Bees in squash blossom, Bees on hypericum, Bees on Walker's Low, Bombus vosnesenskii, California Poppy pollination, crab spider, Gazania, Gerard Van Duinen, German Wasp, Greenworks garden cultivator, Honeycomb, La Tabú, Methley Plums, Mignon dahlia, Nepeta, Phacelia, Pole beans, Red Poppy bee, Salvia Nemarosa, Swallowtail butterfly, Verbascum, Vespula Germanica, Warré Bee hive, Winter lettuce | 7 Comments »
Returning from our morning walk, my wife turns to me, “Pat, the field is looking seedy. Should we mow it?” “Yeah, let’s mow it,” I say, wondering if there’s enough gas. Hmmm, I think I’ll try the new EGO battery mower to see if it’ll work on the thicker grass. To my surprise it works well.
July 4th…Independence Day. Mowing thick grass with the EGO cordless electric mower. I’m not producing carbon emissions. I’M INDEPENDENT OF FOSSIL FUEL.
We usually mow the field with the big DR Brush cutter. It’s about 11 hp and uses quite a bit of gas, so I was very impressed that the EGO cordless mower could handle this thicker and taller grass.
Leave some “No Mow Zones” for the bees. Here’s some healsall plants and some yellow Bird’s Foot Trefoil.
I left some tall grass too, for the deer. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to feed the deer, but there are so many juicy temptations in the garden that they feasted on last year. In a way, I am thanking the deer for not jumping the new deer fence into the garden. Maybe it’s more of a distraction, but so far it works. We’ve been picking up the “June drop” apples along with the mountains of ripe plums and scattering them in an area where we can see them eat (outside the garden, of course.)
Time to recharge. I use solar power.
Solar power plug installed 1 January 2013 (into my press room) Before that, I used a long extension cord from the panels through the shop window.🙂
My wife won’t let me trim the flowers around the solar panels, but if they start casting shadows, there’s gonna be trouble!🙂
EGO’s 56 volt battery RULES!!!
We fill several wheelbarrow loads. What are we using the grass clippings for, you ask? For mulch in the garden. We are coming into the dry season. We’re on a shallow well, so we try to conserve on water usage. Mulch cuts down on the need for water. I scatter the lawn clippings out in the sun. I’ll turn them tomorrow morning. It only takes a couple of sunny days to dry them out enough. (I’ve learned my lesson. Years ago I used fresh lawn clippings over newly planted potatoes. I couldn’t figure out why no potatoes were growing. Pulling up the mulch, I realized the grass had burned off the sprouts.)
After letting grass clippings dry for a couple of hot days, it’s ready to go.
Mulch in squash, lettuce and bean bed.
Barrels benefit from using mulch.
Poles beans growing nicely with drip watering pvc and lots of mulch.
With the advances in battery technology, it’s exciting to be able to do more and more things without using fossil fuels. If it’s true what most scientists are saying, then our grandchildren are facing a future of mass starvation, cities underwater, and out of control wildfires. With that being a possibility, we are very willing to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible.
July 4…Our grandchildren.
Posted in Bee to Flower relationship, Sustainable living, Uncategorized | Tagged EGO cordless mowing, organic gardening, Sustainable living, sustainable mulch | 15 Comments »
Late April, for the first time ever, I start seeing Mason bees in the Meadowfoam.
My sister is a watercolor artist. She gave me her Guidance Mandala because she knows I like bees. I realize Mason bees don’t fly too far from home, but bees need all the help they can get, so I hung it here near the Mason bee nesting blocks.
A closer look at the Guidance Mandala. When Vikki paints a mandala she never knows where it will take her. During one of our weekly phone conversations she was inspired to add a circle of bees.
I set up the nesting blocks on March 6. Then I waited a good three weeks to see any activity. The cocoons had been in the refrigerator since October. You don’t want them emerging too soon because there won’t be enough to eat (or so I have read), but I always hold my breath hoping after five months of ‘chilling,’ they will emerge.
Finally on March 28, I see a bee. This must be a male. Males have long antenna. They usually emerge first because they are laid last in the tubes (being expendable.) Predators will be able to reach them easily.😦
I see them slowly ‘waking up.’ This could be a female. The antennae look shorter.
Rusty says one of these cans will fill up in about three days. I count the number of straws to realize there are close to 100 straws in each can. Either there are more Mason bees in her area or they like the straws in cans better. I’m gonna try this method next year. Photo reprinted with permission from Rusty Burlew.
When I first saw this wasp go into a Mason bee nesting tube I was afraid it would start digging into the tubes. I asked Steve, of “In a beekeeper’s Garden” about this. His reply, “Your wasp is or has all the markings of a vespula germanica (german wasp) which lives in all the northern hemisphere, they are a social wasp so live in nests. they are great pest controllers eating caterpillars , insects and the odd bee (usually weak ones ) they won’t break into your bee tubes :)” In the video, I watch the German Wasp patrolling my garden. I watch until the wasp decides I haven’t gotten video permission from her and chases me away.🙂
I think this is a resting Potter Wasp. I’m not sure what it’s up to. While I was grabbing my camera it poked into the tube and then emerged for it’s camera debut.
Apples, cherries, and blueberries, all benefited from having Mason bees nearby.
Want some plums? It looks like the Mason bees have been busy. My Methley trees are loaded with plums. Here are some recipes from Glory Garden.
It’s late May…I haven’t seen any activity for awhile which probably means the Mason bees are finished pollinating for this year. The cocoons are in a very delicate stage right now. I’ll be storing them in a cool inside room to protect them from yellow jackets. In September or October, I’ll remove the tubes from the blocks to store in the frig until next March. (Maybe I’ll have some new housing by then.)
More about Mason bees
Posted in Bee to Flower relationship, Bee-loving flowers, Gardening, Natural Beekeeping, Videos | Tagged German Wasp, Mason bee nesting blocks, mason bees, natural beekeeping, nature photography, pollinators, Potter wasp, Vespula Germanica, Wild pollinators | 21 Comments »
May 18…This is the entrance. Just today Sue was able to get the path covered with wood shavings. She says, “I feel like this is a secret garden. I can’t wait to show the grand kids.”
The project involved some block work by you know who. (Note to self…never make suggestions to someone about block work unless you’re prepared to do it yourself.)
Sue has added the planters with lobelia, snap dragons from seed, and Clary Sage Salvia (also from seeds this year), hoping to attract some bees. The squash barrels contain butternut, Red Hubbard, and Sugar Pie pumpkin starts. Between the planters and the squash is the Witch Hazel which we bought a couple of years ago, but it didn’t do well in the clay pot we chose for it. We hope it comes back and blooms in winter. It’s next to an Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium).
This is the only ‘before’ photo I could find. I didn’t realize it would become a new garden at the time the deer fence was being put in. I hope I got all the roots out or I’ll be finding them in a few months.🙂
Here’s an ‘in between’ shot, some weeding done, some still to go.
And another ‘in-between shot), block removed and waiting for sand/clay mixture to be added and tamped down.
Here is the same view as above. Sue has added the planters with lobelia, snap dragons from seed, and Clary Sage Salvia (also from seeds this year) The squash barrels contain butternut, Red Hubbard, and Sugar Pie pumpkin starts. Between the planters and the squash is the Witch Hazel which we bought a couple of years ago, but it did not do well in the clay pot we chose for it. We hope it comes back. It’s next to an Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium).
I asked Sue to sit down for a moment so I could take a photo.
The hugelkulture bed is technically in the new garden too. It’s getting planted with cosmos, marigolds, phacellia, California poppies, and more marigolds.
This is the other end of the hugelkulture bed, looking back towards the tall echium.
Some other garden scenes…
May 22…Potatoes growing well.
May 18…..My wife says it was a mistake to mulch the lettuce. It takes quite a bit of time to remove the straw when you want to eat it. In the background you can see the turnip flowers heavy with growth. This is our turnip seed source. The bees are still working it for now. For the record, these turnips, which were planted directly over crab shells last year, grew all winter.
Because of the new deer fence, I can plant pole beans for the first time in about 25 years. It’ll be fun watching the vine crawl up the bamboo poles.
Posted in Bee to Flower relationship, Bee-loving flowers, Gardening, Growing flowers for bees, Videos | Tagged bee-loving flowers, Bombus vosnesenskii, echium, Gardening, organic gardening | 11 Comments »
I love the May garden. Everything is so lush and and green.
May 8…Looking over the garden to the southwest, Sue’s foxgloves (grown from seeds) provide the foreground colors, the volunteer Tower of Jewels (or echium Pininana) to the left, yellow turnip and kale flowers all attract the bees.
The potatoes are up. I just tilled between the rows with the little cultivator below.
For several years, we tried to garden without using fossil fuel. We prided ourselves on the ability to spade the garden and then hoe out the weeds. But now we’re several years older. Last month when we were faced with the task of planting potatoes, my wife says, “Let’s get the old Troy-Bilt tiller out.” Yes, it started on the second pull, but it also is waaaay too big for the raised beds. Reverse doesn’t work on it anymore and plus…it uses fossil fuel!!! Enter the battery-powered Greenworks cultivator. It’s easy to use, works well in the raised beds, and USES NO FOSSIL FUELS!
Peas planted outside…first time in about 25 years (because of the deer fence.) I added a couple of rows of carrots in the middle after I tilled it one more time.
Buckwheat is growing well, tomatoes need cages, peas and carrots, potatoes in far back.
May 2…..Sue plants some corn.
…and a second batch of lettuce.
Just for the fun of it, we bought some giant lobelia (Lobelia fistulosa) for the hummingbirds and bees. A daisy to the left and the Knockout dahlia in the center back. The dahlia has flowers that attract leaf cutter bees (at 1:18) It’s fun to watch the leaf cutters in action.
II had to get creative with the drip water grid for the squash. I’ve been accused of planting the squash too close together in years past. This time, there are only 5 hills here, where I’ve planted 10 or more hills before. The idea is we will get more if we don’t crowd them. I left the turnip flowers for the bees (and for next year’s seeds)
Drip watering gets the water to the customer without wasting any.
Another look at it…I think these are Sugar Pie Pumpkins.
There’s never enough room for squash. We are trying some ‘container squash’ this year. It’ll trail down over the stump grinding experiment.
These squash are up against the fence for a reason. They get the morning and afternoon sun. We might try using the fence to trellis them. The upside…more squash. The downside, I’ve got to water by hand unless I figure out a drip water solution.
Posted in Bee to Flower relationship, Bee Video, Bee-loving flowers, Macro bee video, Music video, Natural Beekeeping, Raised beds, Tower of Jewels, Videos | Tagged bee-loving flowers, Bees on echium, bees on Oregon Coast, bees pollinating turnip flowers, bombus melanopygus, Bombus vosnesenskii, echium pininana, Flor Braier, Foxgloves, Greenworks garden cultivator, Lobelia fistulosa, natural beekeeping, organic gardening, Pony Feelings, Wild pollinators, Yellow-faced Bumble Bee | 12 Comments »
This is the main entrance to the garden. It was the toughest area to get fenced, but I knew the deer wouldn’t necessarily follow the ‘honor system.’ With the 4×4 wooden posts and pretty gate, I’m happy with it.
“I HATE FENCES”…that said, I have to say that, so far, I love this deer fence we recently put up. It didn’t start out too well though. The conversation between my wife and I, that is. She says, “Pat, I’m tired of the deer eating everything that isn’t netted. And I’m tired of having to lift up the netting just to get a few leaves of kale or pick salad greens. And last year the deer even ate the leaves off the potato vines. They even ate some tomato stems.” That was true. We can’t net everything. We use the ‘honor system’ for the tomatoes and potatoes, deer are not supposed to eat them. They trimmed the new corn plants too. Yes, I was tired of all the deer damage too, but our efforts to find an acceptable fence line always ended in a huge disagreement. I says, “All right…if you can find a fence line…one that doesn’t go through the middle of the bamboo, doesn’t cut off the bee hives, and doesn’t slice through the main entrance to the garden, you can have it, but it’s going to take me a good month to set it up and I’m going to be upset the whole time because it won’t be straight. (I’m a printer, I like everything straight) Ten minutes later she marches in triumphantly, “I’ve got it,” she says, with a big smile. We walk it out, and yes, it’s there. I have to insist on my gates, though. I get seven of ’em. Gotta have my gates. :) We decide in an effort to keep peace in the family and to get the job done in time for spring planting, it’ll be hired out. “Whew!!!”
The main entrance. The fruit trees are on the inside of the fence. That means all the wire cages can be removed.
The ‘small’ west gate.
The bigger west gate. I’ve got to grind down the stump on the inside of this gate. I’ll rent a stump grinder…that ought to be fun.
A closer look at the stump…two stumps. Piece of cake…
…NOT!!! I spent a long part of the day, grinding the double stump down with this big stump grinder. I think I got through most of it, but had to hurry to get it back within the time limit so I wouldn’t be charged extra.
This is one of my home-made gates. It opens up to the Cody garden. Cody was a special dog to us for 15+ years. He is buried there.
My daughter drew this colored pencil sketch of Cody with his favorite cat, Chuck, in 2001.
We piled up these ‘tomato’ tires in front of the south gate to try to divert the deer around the fence. They are accustomed to walking through here from the side woods. We’re hoping they develop the habit of walking AROUND the fence. Then we can remove the tires.
Another perk to having a deer fence is being able to grow peas outside the greenhouse. This gate leads to the compost area.
So, there are my seven gates. The following video shows how to build a deer fence. You know I have to shoot video of everything that moves in the garden. When the fence boys came, I couldn’t help myself…out came the cameras. I just had to find out how the pros build a tight wire fence without bending the fence posts crooked. I’m proud to say I found out and documented it for others to possibly use.
Posted in Bee-loving flowers, Building a Deer Fence, Gardening | Tagged Building a Deer Fence, Deer fence, Stretching a deer fence, Video of fence stretching | 10 Comments »
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