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Local honey bees,potting up seedlings, under lights

Posted Sunday, March 11, 2012, at 4:47 PM

Pepperz reclaims her favorite pot.
There is an article in today's Sunday paper about honey bees, a local club and what happens when pollinators like honey bees are absent from the farming community. http://www.t-g.com/story/1824151.html

I started two batches of seeds over the past 6 weeks. My first batch stayed in the starting tray too long and were not moved under lights. Although they were in a South facing window, they got leggy and did poorly.

My second batch was started last Sunday and yesterday I potted many of them up and revived the florescent growing bench in the greenhouse. I know, this is where The PITA lives, but she is now getting close to three years old and I decided to take a chance.

The front of the light bench is now closed off with a window I used for my cold frame. One of our cats was the first to get his 'nose-print' on there but I showed PITA there was glass between her and the plants and they survived the night.

I was a bit concerned when I came into the greenhouse early this morning and PITA was whining like she does when she gets caught after tearing something up, but I could find nothing. Maybe she tried but thought that was going to be found out.

Anyway, there are now some Charley Chaplin tomatoes, Armenian cucumbers, Musk Melon, Cocozelle Squash, Sweet Basil, Kohlrabi and (as expected) Chinese cabbage under the lights. Some of these are "pushing the envelope" at being early, but I always love to experiment, so....

Today I am digging out about a 10-12" furrow in 4-6" of wood chip mulch on the garden in rows. I then plan to let it dry out, till the gap with a hand tiller, and warm up for a few weeks while the seedlings are doing their thing under the lights. I project planting them out at the 1st of April, if not sooner.

While Mother Nature has given us a warm winter, I plan on some SURPRISES before the season really starts, so I will plant them low in the furrow so I can lay some sliding glass doors on top if cold weather threatens. In fact, I may lay them on top one week before planting and leave them on to create a warm micro-climate.

Keep in mind, many of my 'projects' fail, but that does not keep me from trying again, so...wish me luck. I just had an after-thought. The glass doors will also discourage the curious diggers like PITA, Sandy and some cats.

The picture? Some of you may remember a picture I had earlier this year of some catnip and rosemary I brought in for the winter. Pepperz adopted it as a sleeping spot. Well I moved it outside yesterday (minus the catnip which had been smothered). She found it out there and promptly claimed it again. Stayed there a few hours.

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While I was loosening the soil and moving some chips around, I decided to get two 55 gallon drums set up for experimental plantings. After making sure they were set on rocks and bricks for drainage, I also made sure there were drainage holes in the drums.

I fill them up about a third of the way with wood chips and will probably put one big bag of potting soil in each. Garden soil will be too heavy and there is a lot of clay so it would become a brick later in the summer.

Besides being rusty, they are basically black so the soil and chips will heat up nicely early this Spring. I have a number of tall wildflowers coming up already around them and may let some of the naturalized morning glories climb the side for cooling later in the Summer. Now to decide what to put there.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Mar 11, 2012, at 4:56 PM

Anyone know where I can get locally produced honey? Thank guys.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Mon, Mar 12, 2012, at 4:44 PM

Some stores in Bell Buckle should carry one or two different local products. Then Valley Home in Wartrace (well, outside of town but...) http://valleyhomefarm.com/

With the new season about to begin, inventory may be low for any locals.

If they can't help you, let me know. I will call a few bee keepers direct.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Mar 12, 2012, at 11:01 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.