Monday, March 26, 2012

Planting Season

  Today is a beautiful and busy day. Especially after my long winter hibernation. The sun has been out all day! In the sun, it feels as if the temp is in the 60's, but it's really only high 50's. The fruit trees are in their various stages of flowering or budding. My willow tree has new baby leaves. The strawberry pants are waking up and coming back to life. Even my berry vines are showing signs of spring!
Willow tree
Bing Cherry
Rainier Cherry Tree


     This morning the boyfriend and I went to the local dirt dealer to pick up a yard of garden soil, and because they had some pallets in the way of the medium grade soil we wanted, we got the upgraded soil for the lower price. We have three raised beds plus our living roof, but I only had enough to fill two beds halfway. It's a good start! And I have enough left over to get some starts done.

    On a sadder note, I'm not sure my honey bees are gonna make it. I cleaned up the frames from their second brood box. I took the plastic foundation out of the really gross frames and set them up foundation versus foundationless every other frame, and collected some propolis off them before putting them back in the box. My hope is to have them build on their own wax and end up with a completely foundationless hive. I got into the hive today and put the second brood box back on top to give them some room, but they don't seem to need the room at the moment. I was shocked to see they were only covering one frame, maybe two. I have a feeling the queen died over the winter. I should have pried some frames out to see if there were any brood, or better yet, to try and find the queen, but since they became aggressive at the end of last season, my fear levels have risen. They didn't seem too aggressive today, but my caution levels are up. If we have nice weather next weekend I'll have the boyfriend help me take a better look. On the good side, they were out and flying today and bringing in some good pollen.

     Now to set up my string outline for doing square foot gardening in the raised beds and to get my starts started and my day will be complete. Then it's off for a well deserved dinner with friends!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring is Here...Almost

View from the spare room. Window needs cleaned!
     Spring is here...or at the very least it's on it's way in. We had our typical false start a few weeks ago. I even caught the bees flying on a particularly warm and sunny day. I was all set to start planting some kale and cabbage seeds on the living roof this weekend. Then it snowed and hailed, and I thought I'd put it off for another week or two. I'm pretty stoked though, as my perennial herbs that I planted late in the season last year have lived through the winter and are currently thriving on the roof. Considering my numerous failed attempts at gardening over the past three years, this is quite the accomplishment for me!
     We finally finished the roof over the new deck this winter. I took the picture today which was the inspiration for this post. I haven't done much in the way of home renovations over the past few months. I think the only thing I did, other than the roof, was add on to the walls of the raised garden beds. One more level to go and they will be to my desired height.

View out the kitchen door. Deck roof is finally done. Look at all those plants on the living roof! And those potted herbs that over-wintered! Catnip, thyme, parsley, and out of the shot: chives.
The bike has been removed and the hive box put back on the hive since this photo.

     Plans for the next four to six weeks:
  • Plant my cabbage and other leafy vegetables on the living roof.
  • Plant the peas in the hanging baskets in the garden
  • Obtain and plant Sweet Alyssum around the cherry trees
  • Get a yard of garden dirt in from the local composting place around the corner and start loading up the raised beds with it
  • Get some planters/buckets ready for my hanging tomato plants