Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bee Houses

Part of our mission on the farm is to promote and develop wildlife habitat--including habitat for pollinators.  John built these darling houses for Mason and Orchard Bees.  They don't produce honey, but they do an excellent job pollinating--even better than honeybees.

The tubes you can see are bamboo (a renewable resource) sections cut to 5 1/2" - 6" lengths.  Amazingly the Mason Bee Queen will produce males or females based on whether these tubes are more or less than 6 inches in length--crazy cool!  We have two houses hanging up in the yard now.

Mason Bee {photo starlisa's flickr}

John tried a couple different kinds of tubes for the bees to use, to experiment.  Something has been working on the houses, but no sighting yet!

Along with the smaller bees, we are planning to provide the proper habitat for the cuddly bumble bee.    We are excited about our little bee friends, and this will tide us over until we get our first honeybee colony in 2013!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Potting/Blocking Station

Some pics of our seed starting look like a mess, but it's really quite organized!  Water, potting soil, peat moss, trays, tags, seeds, soil blockers, lime...

 This potting table is very handy, in it I have trays for mixing the soils, cleaning my tools and room for water and trays.  Underneath I am storing my trays and a bin for mixed & sifted peat and potting soil.  (In the background there are boxes, and boxes and boxes of canning jars.)

 I have my seed starting schedule, my seeds and homemade plant tags cut from yogurt containers, and a very handy sharpened paintbrush for planting individual seeds.

All of the peat moss and potting soil (containing some peat, compost and perlite) is sifted through this nice sieve John built for me.  It sits on top of a 5 gallon bucket.  I remove the larger piece so they don't inhibit germination or root growth, and save them for another use.