Wednesday, 18 May 2011


It's now drizzling steadily, which is something I suppose, though the ground's still very dry and we need a real downpour to make much difference. I nipped down to the plot earlier, to check the bees before it started.

I now have half a dozen tiny Meconopsis seedlings; I've falied to get seed of this to germinate many times, but the trick seems to be very fresh seed, and stratification over winter. the Daubenton's Kale is growing well. The name seems to be a generic one for any non-flowering perennial kale; we've now identified three varieties. There's the variegated one I have, a green one, and Taunton Deane, named after the garden in Devon where it's been preserved.

The big hive - No. 4 - is flourishing. I'm slipping a frame or two of foundation in every week, and easing out the remaining standard National frames. When I swapped to 14x12's, I let the bees build comb out on the bottoms of the frames rather than starting with all foundation, and it's worked well. It's time for them to go, however. The broodbox is packed with bees, though there's nothing going on in the supers yet. There's no sign of swarm cells so far, which is good. I don't like swarmy bees. They gave me a bit of a stinging last week, but this time they were fine.

The swarm - No. 5 - now has brood on three frames. I found the queen, and marked her white; it's last year's colour, but she's highly unlikely to have been raised this year. They're pulling comb steadily, and they sit very quietly during examinations.

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