Friday, June 6, 2008

Hits and Misses

Here is some of our first harvest. It's a mixed bag of bolting spinach, red Russian kale and mizuma. Mmmmm. Stir fry! The kale and mizuma have been cut for thinning purposes and should continue to yield in quantity for months to come. The spinach is another matter:

Near the center of this image you can see the flower stalk starting to form. It's been quite dry and the spinach has decided the top priority is to reproduce while it still can. Doh! It's not the end of the world, but the greens do tend to get bitter when the plant goes to flower. So we're cutting those that have started to bolt and using them immediately in salads and stir fries. We've planted more spinach next to the strawberries (which are now up), so that will be along in 6-8 weeks.

Here's a shot of the bok choi which has also bolted and is very leggy (that's red clover on the right). The small yellow spots are the bok choi flowers. It still isn't too bitter, but it's never going to amount to much now, so we'll cut it out and replant it. A total loss, but that's the way it goes. This year is for learning. Well...every year is for learning, but this year especially so.

What's in a name?

We've gotten some feedback that we should rename this blog to something indicating that we're now "farming". Well, not quite. We're sort of "pretty serious gardeners" now. Farming will ramp things up about another order of magnitude. So we're going to keep the blog name for the near term, at least until we sell something.

Bee update

No images on this, but the bees are doing very well. We've dubbed the two queens "Thelma" and "Louise", and both seem to be laying well. We've seen eggs, larva, and capped brood in both hives. This Monday we took a look inside we saw several bees doing the waggle dance to indicate the location of a nectar source. That was very cool! The bees are very gentle, and don't seem to mind us handling them. In temperament our Italian bees are to bees as black labs are to dogs. The only issue with them is their burr comb production. That seems to have mostly settled down, but we still call them our bauhaus bees when we find new, creative features to their comb.

By the way, as many of you know, bees are responsible for at least a third of our food supply. And it's the best tasting third that they contribute to: fruit, nuts, berries, and some veggies like tomatoes and squash. I read recently that a melon farm will produce 80,000-90,000 pounds of fruit per acre when bees are available to pollinate the flowers. Without bees the yield is 10,000-12,000 pounds per acre. That's a really good reason to keep bees!

No comments: