Friday, 3 August 2007

The weather seems to be brightening up at last, not that there's much left to appreciate it. The squashes are sitting doiing nothing, and the floods wiped most other things out. I've just finished lifting the garlic; the actual cloves are fine, but some of the skins had rotted, and most of the stems. I won't be making plaits this year.

The walking onions produced single bulbs and small clumps, but they were grown from small bulbils. I think I'll do better planting the bulbs, along with the bigger bulbils. They're strange things, the bulbs are like shallots, and clusters of nulbils form at the tops of the stems, where you'd expect a flower. Come to that, garlic flowers I took off ended up trying to produce little clusters of bulbils.

I split the big beehive last week, and yesterday I took out some of the resulting queen cells (from the queenless half) and put them into the two bought-in hives. I split one of them, and gave cells to both halves. I had meant to split both, but didn't have enough cells. Previously, I've done this with swarm cells, which are nicely built, hang free, and are strong enough to handle comfortably. These were emergency cells, converted from worker cells when the bees picked the young larva to become a queen. The walls were thin, and they were difficult to cut out and difficult to handle without squashing them. Hopefully they'll hatch; each hive has two, to provide a backup.

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