Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Country Garden Showcase- week 13

to BEE or not to BEE
Did you know that a third of the fruits and vegetables we eat depend on bees for pollination? In fact almonds, watermelons, cantaloupes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, cherries, oranges, peaches and kiwifruit depend on bees for pollination. Cucumbers, squash, and some beans and peas count on bees too and your prizewinning tomatoes, eggplants, okra, and peppers don't produce quality without them. University studies routinely demonstrate that bee pollination improves crop yield by as much as 50%. Wow! That's worth investigating so last fall I set out to read up on bees and beekeeping in hopes that I might one day be able to have a hive or two around my garden.

Yesterday was my big day. I got my first honeybee colony. Yippee! My mentor was so helpful. He demonstrated so many important beekeeping skills and allowed me to get some hands on experience. Thank you Ron. I really had a blast and I learned so much! Seeing things up close is so much better than reading about it in a book or watching it on Youtube.

Ron is a pollination beekeeper and this field full of bees just returned from almond pollination duty. In a few weeks, Ron's bees will be heading to orange groves for pollination. At that time, I will get more more experience and learn some new skills. I hope to bring home my second hive then.
Here are a few pics of my first field day...

Yuck!  This mess is a great example of the woes of professional beekeepers.  This is wax moth damage.  They often move into empty hives in storage and destroy hive and frame.  Ron has what looks like a few hundred hives in storage.  I hope I never have to find out how to get rid of this pest myself.  It's very destructive.
  Obscured behind a few giant coastal redwoods you can see my new beehive full of hard working little ladies.
If you're considering beekeeping I recommend that you investigate your local and regional resources.  I found several beekeeping associations and clubs in my state and I found my mentor by contacting the County Cooperative Extension Entomologist.  There are so many great books out there to give you a head start and don't forget, there are lots of great bloggers that regularly report on their beekeeping experiences too.  Friends like KarenLynn of the Lil' Suburban Homestead and Amy Walker of Homestead Revival.  I am starting this new adventure with a wealth of support and excitement.  I hope to post soon about each of my beekeeping "first" experiences.  have a great and productive week ahead. 

What have you been doing in your garden this week???

I am sharing this post on the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop HEREand 
Kelly Morris' brand new Homesteader Blog Carnival HERE
Tiffany's Garden Life hop at No Ordinary Homestead
and Jill, Kendra, and Amy for The Homestead BARN Hop!


  1. Good luck with the bees (I love your garden roof top--isn't that what they call that style?) This will be our second year with bees-- It's so interesting.

  2. Thank you Jeanette. I am really enjoying learning about bees. They're amazing. Yes, I have heard that this roof is called a garden hive top. I may bend your ear one of these days about your beekeeping experience so far. Have a great week ahead.

  3. HI,
    I just found your blog hop and shared news about the upcoming Small Farm Summit here on Long island, as well as a post about the GMO labeling issue.

    Love your bees!

  4. Thanks Jill. I am glad you dropped in and shared these important posts. The GMO labeling issue is very important to all of us. If I lived closer, I'd love to attend the Small Farm Summit.

  5. It looks like you had a great time. And if you have as much fun bee keeping as we did with my dad, it is a blast!

  6. What kind of bees did you choose?

  7. Wow -- I think bees must be the new "chickens" this year ;-)

    That is great! I can't wait to hear about your first honey harvest.

  8. Have fun with the bees! Last year was our first year and it went wonderfully - I am excited about this summer and working with bees again.

    Your hive is very pretty!

  9. Awesome pictures. Am thinking of taking some beekeeping classes and putting up a hive on our 12 acres.

    I've bought Mason bees in the past but they don't travel very far form the nests.

  10. You go my farmgirl sister from the west! Do you plan to harvest honey Heidi, or are you keeping bee's for gardening purposes only? I had never thought of keeping them for that reason alone. But then again, I have never really thought of keeping them PERIOD. But, I must say, I'm intrigued!

  11. Heidi, I am so impressed! You are such a trooper and learn so quickly! Love this post Ms. Bee Keeper.