Saturday, 30 April 2011


The bees are going great guns, with nine frames of brood, the broodbox full of bees, and a few drones present. I've given them a couple of frames of foundation, to give them some comb to draw. I'm finding wild comb at the beck of the broodbox every week, and they might as well draw some where I want it!

I've been planting peas and brassicas. Caulis, kale, brussels, purple sprouting broccoli. Spis Bladene kale from the HSL is a bit of a mystery; it means 'eat the leaves', and is definitely not the plant's name. Apparently it 'appears to be a perennial kale', which sounds interesting. Half a dozen wigwams of peas meant loads of grass cuttings to be barrowed, but somehow I've managed this far without doing my back in. I'm planting more as fast as I get them planted out.

There's still far too much digging to be done.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


I've had to take a couple of days away from the plot; I had a vomiting bug, but I seem to be getting over it. All very unpleasant.

Meanwhile, the bees have been taking advantage of the good weather. They now have six frames of brood, with an entire frame of eggs. There are a lot more bees in the hive, and a few have moved through the excluder into the supers. I spotted one drone. That's what I like to see this time of year. The queen's laying flat out, and by the time the bramble, which is my main honey source, comes into flower, there should be plenty of bees ready to take advantage. The one thing I need to watch out for is swarming. The queen headed a swarm last year, and I have to assume she's likely to head another this. So I need to keep a sharp eye open for swarm preparations.

The sowing I planned to do this week obviously hasn't happened, but I can get cracking on that tomorrow if I'm feeling up to it.

Friday, 15 April 2011


My hive now has brood covering five frames, with masses of capped brood. The number of bees is now increasing rapidly, and will clearly continue to do so for a while. There's a growing area of capped drone comb, and I expect them to be hatching by the beginning of next month.

So all's well, and I can expect a decent honey harvest as long as they don't swarm. The queen headed a prime swarm in May last year, so I wouldn't be too surprised if I do find them making swarm cells. I'll have to keep an eye on them, and be prepared.

Things are growing merrily, though I lost a lot of the young plants I had in pots during the freeze before Christmas. I look at the amount of digging I need to do and despair sometimes, but at least I can plant some things through black plastic, and evade some digging that way.