Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn, my God, do you learn.

-C.S. Lewis

Stream In January

Stream In January

Monday, November 30, 2009

November Bees and Garden

November is almost gone and the garden and beeyard are both very quiet. Temps were mild yesterday and there were a good many bees out enjoying the sun, but a cold rain is falling today and there is a possibility of snow by mid-week. We enjoyed a dusting on Thanksgiving day. I have raised the hives so I can clean debris from beneath the screened bottom boards. I can also pack with insulation if the winter temperatures are extreme. Entrance reducers are also in place for the cold even though the bees didn't like them at first. Being the adaptable little creatures they are, it didn't take them long to feel comfortable with the reduced space. I have also reversed the inner cover providing an airspace over the frames in the shallow super. I'll monitor the entrance reducers when we have snow to keep the entrance from becoming entirely closed and affecting circulation in the hives. Both hives are heavy with capped honey, but I'll keep a check on weight and feed if I feel is necessary.

The garden is still productive with turnip greens, onions and herbs. Other than rosemary, my herbs overwinter very nicely. It was good to be able to have fresh sage, parsley and onions to season the Thanksgiving bird. I took advantage of the warm weather yesterday and dug out a bed of phlox that was growing next to the fence. I'm going to plant cucumbers there next spring as it's a great place for the cukes to climb. I shoveled on about 4 inches of compost and organic matter in the space. Last week I ordered 3 ligonberry plants from Stark's Nursery and they should arrive today. Ligonberries are also known as Mountain Cranberries and should do very well in my mountain garden since they like the same growing conditions as blueberries - acidic soil. They can tolerate cold winters and also like some shade in the afternoons. I hope the blooms will be another good source of nectar and pollen for my bees.


Ngaio said...

Hi Lynn
Your Nov is closing down and ours is winding up !! Rain here today but warm, up to 23C during the day and warm and muggy at night with 11 degreees C . we need the rain though as the constant wind ( we are such a narrow land that the wind seems to blow all year)has dried the soil.
hence the bees haven`t had a geat deal of time out foraging, bumblebees everywhere but not as many honey bees.I have my last weeks beekeeping classes next Mon and Wed after work, I do hope it is fine. The students are very keen to open the both hives ! We are still getting the odd swarm with alot of people wanting bees.

Cliff W said...

Thanks for the post. It's nice to hear that life in your garden goes on even when the bees are snuggled up inside enjoying their overwinter food supplies. Could you imagine being that cooped up for so long? No claustrophobia obviously! Flooding here is abating somewhat but nights are cold around freezing. Better to be cold but dry than submerged though. Lots of farmland in the west has been decimated :(

If only Ngaio could take some of our rain ....

Lynn said...

Hey guys. Good to hear from both as you, as usual. Seems like the weather has been the biggest topic in beekeeping this year. It's been crazy everywhere. Clear and cold here today, but more rain/snow is expected in the next few days. I'm already yearning for warm, spring days.

You know Cliff, I try not to assign human traits, feelings, etc., to my bees, but sometimes I do look at the hives and they look so sad to me when there is no activity. I try not to think of all those thousands of bees clustered just trying to stay warm and survive. Glad you weren't affected by the horrible flooding in your area.

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

Your bees are looking good. I did my winterizing too. I worry a bit about snow because the bees are not at my home but they have a top exit as well as a bottom so that should be helpful.
The turkey with homegrown herbs sounds delicious.