Saturday, 6 June 2009

It's tipping it down with rain, so it looks like a day to concentrate on the annual nightmare of GCSE marking. I did at least manage to check the beehives yesterday, though I got no further. Hive 1 is looking good, with 6 1/2 frames of brood. I only got two queen cells in the first batch I raised, so I gave both to Hive 3. For some reason they broke one down, leaving them with a single cell. I'm not happy with that; I like to give them two or three. It should be OK though. Hive 4 is on five frames of brood, and has laid up a second frame of eggs for me. I've now given that to Hive 5, to requeen itself with.

There are always a lot of bees drinking from this puddle when the sun's out. I've been keeping it topped up because I don't want them going elsewhere and scaring the neighbours. They like very shallow water in the sun, presumably because it's warmer. When I shaded the puddle one day, they abandoned it till it was back in the sun. They'll often go for very dirty water, possibly for extra mineral or organic content.

The elephant garlic is flourishing as always. The scapes need to come off in order for the bulbs to reach maximum size.

I've just planted out some of the peas. These are Salmon Flowered, Robinsons' Purple Podded (so called because it originated from Robinson's Seeds), Lancashire Lad, another purple podded variety, and Ne Plus Ultra. I had to replant Magnum Bonum and Alderman so I'll add those in a week or two. As you see, I use wigwams made of 8-foot poles, with string wound round to give the tendrils something to grip.


  1. It's true removing the scapes will allow the plants to put more energy into the bulbs, but bulbils can be useful sometimes too and the difference in bulb size is not always that great.

    Bulbils are great for sending through the post. They are also good in general when sharing your plants with others, because sometimes the bulbs carry diseases the bulbils don't. Some people also say the acclimation process in a new garden is faster if you start with bulbils.

    Bulbils are also a way of speeding propagation, because even though what you grow from bulbils won't reach full size the first year, they usually catch up quickly in the following years.

    Last year was the first I really saved bulbils from my plants in any numbers, but I'm really starting to understand how handy they are. In the future, I'm going to start sometimes sending out bulbils to people who want to grow my garlic varieties.

    Of course I like eating the scapes too! They can be cut into pieces and cooked like green (French) beans, or you can make pesto out of them.

  2. Good point. I haven't tried letting any garlic produce bulbils. OK, elephant garlic isn't 'proper' garlic, but it thinks it is so I assume it acts the same way. I usually use the scapes in a stirfry.

    I hadn't thought of the disease angle. Yes, I can imagine a disease being concentrated at one end of the plant, as it were. I don't suppose white rot, let's say, extends as far as the top of the stem.