Just when I think that it is warming up nicely, the weather turns. Don’t be caught off guard if you’ve already planted, even cool season crops are in danger with the cold nights coming. To protect your plants, put row cover over them at night. It will add between 4-6°F protection and may help them endure the cold. You can get some at Agua Fria, Plants of the Southwest and Paynes Nurseries.
Here is the temperature (lows) forecast for the next 5 nights:
Tomorrow night-Thursday 26°F
Yesterday Elodie took some fantastic pictures of both honeybees and native bees visiting the apple trees blossoms. The blossoms are in full bloom now which are gorgeous and smell heavenly but tomorrow night (Wednesday) and Thursday night is supposed to get in the high 20’s at night which is a real bummer because the cold will probably knock off the blossoms and that will be the end of our apple season again… Meanwhile let’s enjoy these great pictures while we have them.
I call this the drunken bee-drunk on nectar!
Here’s a closeup of a bee
This honey bee has some pollen on her legs
Native bees look very different from honey bees
Honey bee visits an apple blossom
Here is Dorothy in the middle of a comb being attended to by the other bees.
When we had the micro burst of wind happen last week, we found our queen bee, (promptly named Dorothy because her house was turned upside down), outside the hive. I quickly picked her up on a bar that was tossed to the ground and she seemed ok. Queen bees are very delicate and can get easily injured so we worried that she might not be able to lay eggs even though she appeared fine. Yesterday, Elodie and I inspected the hive and she is truly fine.
Look! We found eggs which means she is not damaged and the other bees will be capping them soon. They are in the comb-notice they look like tiny grains of rice. We are so relieved because a hive without a working queen is a doomed hive and the hive could not survive as the queen keeps the continuum going with the hive. Since the worker bees only live about 6 weeks, it is the queens only job-laying eggs, making brood so more bees can be born to keep the hive going!
Are you chitting your potato seeds yet? Careful how you say that! You can get potato seeds at the local nurseries now if you plan to grow them this year. Potato seeds are actually smaller potatoes that you plant. Don’t use grocery store potatoes as most of them have a sprout inhibitor on them to reduce sprouting which is what we want.
Chitting is letting your potatoes grow those little ‘eyes’ out. Put them in indirect sunlight. I use egg cartons to hold them so the eyes don’t break off. After they grow ‘eyes’, you should plant them this month-April. Chitting potatoes now will let you harvest them 2-3 week earlier when harvesting them later in the late summer.
This year, I’m growing them in ‘potato bags’ instead of a garden bed. My friend, Janet had fabulous luck with them last year-in fact she got more than I did in a raised bed so I’m trying her way this year besides it opens up another bed for me to grow other veggies in.
For more info on growing and chitting your potatoes, go to my original post ‘Growing and Chitting Potatoes’
Yesterday I was planting vegetables in the greenhouse, when this huge micro burst of wind came and almost tore the window shutters off of the greenhouse. Afterwards, I inspected the shutters that were slapping so violently to see if the hinges were damaged. Luckily they were ok. Then I decided to check on the new bees we had just put into a hive on Sunday. The hive got turned almost upside down with all the topbars, bees, honey and sugar-water thrown on the ground behind it. I called Elodie and she came and together we put them back in. I tried to quickly put all of them back in because the queen was already out of her cage and I needed to find out if she was dead or alive. The queen was in that pile on the ground and luckily she was surrounded by thousands of other bees and I found her running around on one of the combs we had supplied. How lucky is that?! She looks fine and I hope she is not damaged or she will not lay any eggs. I’ve named her Dorothy after the Wizard of Oz when she and her house got thrown around in a tornado. I will check in a few days to see that she has started laying eggs, otherwise we will have to get another queen. Keep your fingers crossed that Dorothy is ok…
Today was what I call windy ugly! It is just blasting outside which is exactly what our Aprils’ are about out here in Santa Fe. I thought we might not get it this year as we’ve had beautiful weather up till today. Spring is my least favorite season because it almost always is windy-really windy and the wind makes me crabby! I read that is because all the positive ions the wind whips up. Negative ions (like when it rains make us feel good and positive ions make us crabby!)
One year, about 11 years ago, the roof blew off my hay barn-literally the roof just lifted up-all 14′ x 24′ of it and landed on my neighbor’s property. When it hit, it left a 12″ deep dent where it hit the ground and exploded from the impact as pieces flew everywhere. Luckily nothing was damaged-no people or property. Just before the event, Elodie and I were down at the barn tightening up any screws on the roof (she was holding the ladder and I was on top of the roof and I had just gotten off the ladder when the wind came up and up and up. Elodie said “Well, this will be a good test” when a 70 mph micro-burst came into the barn, we heard a huge rip as it tore the roof off and the thing flew up in the air like one giant kite. Made me think of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when her house was lifted in the air. Elodie said, “That could have been you! You were just on the roof!” to which I chanted, ‘It wasn’t my time! It wasn’t my time!
PS: When I rebuilt the roof I put hurricane ties on the rafters so hopefully that won’t happen again. Today reminded me of that windy day!