Friday, April 3, 2015

New Berry Patch

Last fall we moved the hives from our west hill to an area not far from the veg garden.   Over the winter, we built a berry patch around the new site. 

I decided to orient the hives to the south.   They're already in full sun so it's a bit of overkill during the summer, but hopefully this will help keep them warmer during the winter.  

I also put them close enough together so that I can stuff insulation between them and they can borrow a bit of heat and shelter from each other.  Packing them closer together gives me enough room for 4 hives in the row.   I'm getting two packages at the end of this month and two nucs in May. 

If I'm lucky and a swarm moves into one of the empty hives before that, then we'll use the horizontal hive, too.   You can just see it on the far side of the picnic table.   It has a window on the back and we'll keep that hive on the table for a while so it's easy to see into. 

That picnic table is extra tall. It makes a nice boundary for the bees and a great place to stand behind to watch the fronts of the hives.   The bees fly up and over it and don't bother observers at all.  

The berry beds are in a U shape.  I have 2 blueberry bushes, and a whole lot of blackberries and raspberries [red and gold ones].   I'm really looking forward to these berries so close to the house.   We have a few acres of wild ones, but they're not very big or very sweet.   These should be much better berries.    Some will bear this year, some we'll have to wait for. 

If the deer bother them, The patch is easy to enclose with those 16 ft animal fence panels, which will be both deer deterrent and make for a great wind block in the winter - all you have to do is throw some cheap tarps over them and zip tie them in place.   I'll probably put the fence up just for that. 

At any rate, it feels like a real accomplishment to have this done and mulched and the hives all ready for the bees when they arrive.   In the meantime, the neighborhood bees have been robbing out the honey and pollen in the hives and it's nice to see a little bee action while I'm waiting. 

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