Well, it has been a little while since we gave an update of how everything is progressing. But everything here at Red Tree is growing quickly – especially the weeds…
We have been eating garden salads for just over two months now and the gardens show no sign of slowing down. Last night, we pulled up many of our salad greens since the plants were bolting and the tomatoes, squashes, and pumpkins needed some more space.
One of our experiments this year is to grow tomatoes in the greenhouse. And I have been quite impressed with how they are doing. There are definitely advantages for the plants to be outdoors instead but the greenhouse tomatoes are taller and already starting to produce fruit.
The peppers I planted with the tomatoes have not grown much and a few have died. So, I will continue to experiment with how to grow peppers.
After our first few weeks of gardening in-ground, we have come to really hate weeding! And this field is full of weeds. After each rain, the rows begin to look more like a lawn. But despite the weeds, the vegetables are doing well.
The weeds overtook the brassicas we were growing from seed to the point where we never even saw sprouts. Today, I took some landscaping fabric and covered up the weed-infested rows in order to transplant pickling cucumbers and pumpkins for a fall harvest.
This week, we will harvest the first round of spinach and baby lettuce from the field!
Our beehive, which we named the Valkyries, has exploded in population over the last couple of weeks. Over the last month, the queen has established 7-8 frames of brood (some of which has hatched and she has laid in a second time). To give you an idea of what 8 frames means, each frame has about 9000 cells. Some cells will be used for pollen and nectar but about 75% will be used for bee-rearing. Some quick math estimated that in the last month, 54 000 eggs were laid.
The hive has begun to run out of space so they received their first honey super. And I am looking forward to them filling it up. Each super will yield up to 40 lbs of honey.
But the most exciting part is that the Valkyries reached the point where we were able to split the hive. Our new hive will receive its name once it has survived a winter. Any suggestions on what we should call them?
Despite the chaos in the world right now, our gardens and bees bring some comfort. Even when they act in a way that seems chaotic to us, the gardens and bees have proven time and time again that they will overcome, flourish, and teach us something about patience and humility.
Oh, and the chickens arrive in about a week!