Monday, April 30, 2012

Harvest Monday: End of April

Once again I actually have a harvest (not bad for April gardening in Pennsylvania with no cold frame) but it's still just one veggie.   Better than nothing!  Head on over to Daphne's Dandelions and check out this week's Harvest Monday post to see what everyone else has been harvesting.

Our radish harvest for the week.

It seems that we are not the only things enjoying the radishes.  I did see several tiny millipedes  in the ground, but I don't know if they caused the radishes to split or just ate the holes into them.

The brassicas are coming along nicely, though I will have to thin them soon.  

The lettuce is also coming along nicely.

The peas growing in the back of the garlic bed finally have a trellis to climb.  I used two U posts and some plastic deer fencing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Harvest Monday: First harvest of Spring 2012!

Ok, so it's just a bunch of spring onions but it's something!  Thanks to Daphne for hosting Harvest Monday (and giving me an excuse to get back on the garden blog horse).

I had decided to pull these and eat them instead of just pulling and replanting...the bed they were in needed about 6 more inches of compost so I could plant herbs.

Spring onions, cleaned and ready to slice.

These are a couple of the thinnings from my radish bed.  They are about dime-sized, and the one on the left is a watermelon radish.  Not much I can do with them though.

I sliced into one of these and they smell strongly of garlic.  Originally I thought it might be onions growing on my hillside, but now I think maybe garlic growing from composted store-garlic.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Burgh Bees: The awesome community apiary soon to be in my community!

Without bees, there would be no garden, and if that weren't enough reason for me to love the little critters, they also produce liquid sugar in the form of honey.  How awesome is that?

I bring this up because Burgh Bees is currently waiting for permit approval to build their second community apiary right here in my neighborhood.  I've always wanted to learn more about bee keeping in case I was able to get a hive of my very own in my yard many years down the road...a community apiary would make that goal far more tangible.

A friend of mine has a hive in the first urban community apiary here in Pittsburgh, and when she posted asking if anyone wanted to come see her hive during a volunteer workday I took her up on it.  It was so much cooler than I though it would be!

The sign outside the Burgh Bees community Apiary in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

There are two (that I saw) water tubs inside the apiary so the bees have access to water.  Floating corks act as tiny little bee platforms.

My friend about to open her hive.  I actually got butterflies here...I think I've only seen a bee hive up close on Mr. Rogers.

There were many capped cells, but most on this frame were still uncapped.

A bee on my arm (I got to wear one of the weird-looking bee suits!)

Little bee faces sticking out of the hive.

Down on the ground you can see a pile of bee corpses from the winter drone ejection.

Many people painted or otherwise decorated their hives.  

This person painted a neat city-scape!

I was told that these are ancient symbols of bee-keeping.   How cool.

I wonder if this guy is a saint of bee-keeping?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Planning an Accessible Garden

I had been planning on updating this over the weekend, but we ended up dealing with some unexpected issues that have delayed things a bit.  Even now I haven't really been out in the garden today, so I'm throwing myself into planning one of the really exciting gardening projects I've been offered this season!

My husband works with a non-profit that helps disabled individuals live their lives.  The house he works in has a beautiful yard and the gentlemen in the house tend to eat less-healthily than they otherwise could due to the tight food budget.  I offered to stop over once a week with the kids and maintain a small food garden at the house.  All the current workers would have to do was water it and harvest things that are obviously ripe.  The gentlemen in the house would benefit from the interaction with the kids, the time outside, and the fresh food they grew themselves.

The biggest problem with this plan, is the start-up cost associated with a garden.  The house operates on a pretty tight budget, and garden tools and soil for raised beds aren't exactly things that provide a quantifiable benefit as quickly as most other household expenditures.   I can spare some seeds, and barring that each of the men in the house has a food stamp allotment due to their disability that can be used for plants and seeds, but we're still going to have to get creative with everything else.

I have a much larger post about barriers to gardening that I'll be posting soon as a result of this process.  Tomorrow we have a trip to a local farm with the younger kids so that should be fun.