Monday, April 27, 2009

Garden Updates

One of our grape vines, this one is a green seedless grape. This year it has no blossoms. The Kyohou grape vine has about 8 blossom clusters, so we're excited.
Cabbages coming along, even though we have lots of caterpillars trying to eat the tender greens...
We've managed to scrounge around for some soil to finish 3 beds. The furthest left bed are the cucumbers & melons. The furthest middle bed are the beans, Furthest right bed is still in need of soil, closest left bed is going to be peppers, potatoes and eggplants, the closest middle bed will be onions. We're not sure if we can get the 6th bed done in time for this planting season.
Blueberries! Last year we had just one(!) berry. This year we might have enough to fill one of those berry containers they sell at the store..hehe
The Kabocha pumpkins going strong. The larger vines already have blossoms growing. You can see some recently planted kabochas in the back.
Shinseiki Asian Pear fruitlet 

Spring Blossoms

Friday, April 24, 2009

itty bitty bamboo shoots

these little guys are only about 2" tall.  We decided to uproot all the bamboo in the backyard as we are eventually going to be removing the concrete for some raised veggie beds. Right now, the concrete is inhibiting this culm right now, but once we remove it, it will sucker where-ever it finds fresh new soil! We plan on eating these little things somehow... maybe takikomi gohan... If you don't know what that is here's a description:

The Bees are back!

We can't "bee"lieve it! A new group of bees have decided to build in the same exact sprinkler box. I asked DS back to offer these bees to him. He came quickly, but boy these bees build fast! This was built in 2 days! DS took this first picture. The other 2 are by me. This time I wasn't able to help out with the "cutout". I had some deadlines with my Freelance work doing animation stuff. This group was a much smaller group than the first, but we're guessing they are from the same mother hive, they were just as gentle as the first group. They really must love this spot to keep building in it. I must have a destiny to keep bees someday...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Garden Planning

Here's a map of our "new" homestead. We've made some changes when we moved in in Feb. Below is how it looked before we moved in, and following it is after, well we're still in progress of attaining all those vegetable beds. Most of the work you'll see is within the upper left corner of each image(backyard), and some on the lower half(front lawn).

Home Grown Breakfast

Here's more Loquats, we don't get sick of eating it straight from the tree (rinsed of course) 
Here's a breakfast with homegrown strawberries and loquats, yum

Garden Updates

Here's a huge pile of soil that's been removed from the beds because of the comtaminated compost that had painted wood, plywood, composit wood, plastic and glass. My son decides it's a nice place to nap...he's like Snoopy on his roof. Now, we're scrambling to find some decent soil to replace the 4"~5" of topsoil we lost in 3 beds...sigh...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Harvest Update

Here's a large collander full of Loquats, some Kale behind it and a very happy boy ready to dig into the juicy fruits. This bowl had 4.5 lbs of fruit, and we're not done yet.
Our total harvest for March was 45.15 lbs.
Here's the breakdown:
Greens 4.75 lbs, Broccoli 0.75 lbs, Carrots 0.31 lbs, Kale 2.3 lbs, NZ Spinach 1.3 lbs, Potatoes 5 lbs, Kumquats 4.44 lbs, Cherry Tomatoes 1.27 lbs, Radish Greens 0.34 lbs, Herbs 0.06 lbs, Oranges 4.38 lbs, Tangerines 18.63 lbs, Loquats 1.34 lbs & Strawberries 0.28 lbs

Update on the Bees

I'm sad to say the bees decided they didn't like their new home in the Langstroth hive. D.S. said that the bees left the hive early Friday morning.(D.S. came on Wed afternoon to our house) They left a memoire for D.S. I feel so sad for D.S. He worked so hard and did his best, but I guess we just don't know enough about the bees just yet.

Garden Updates

Here's a few shots of the seed starting shelves

yes, I know... it's styrofoam egg cartons... bad for the environment, but at least I used it for more than holding eggs.

The Garden beds coming along... only problem... actually quite a set back, the compost we purchased from a local rock/soil place put shredded wood that's been painted, and particle board, and composit wood chunks in it. There's pieces of plastic and glass in it as well... We mixed it all into the soil already on 3 beds before we realized this... sigh. So, the rest we'll do it the way we've been so far, buying Organic Compost from Home Depot.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hands On Learning about Bees

We decided to donate the newly formed beehive. Right now, I'm too busy with garden building to manage a new hive. I don't know much about bee-keeping anyhow. I had a great opportunity to help a local bee-keeper who is just starting out with an Organic Apiary business in South Pasadena. We'll call him D.S. He brought me an extra bee-veil so I can be protected while observing. At first, that's all I was planning on doing, observe. But soon, I jumped in and helped with whatever I could. Here's the close-up of the cute little bugs:
The Smoker, it's filled with wood chips and news papers
Here, D.S. is teaching me how to make a hammock for the pieces of hive that we'll be taking out of the establised hive.

Now I'm doing it all by myself, still not sure how it will be used.

This is how it's used. I did this! (With a LOT of coaching from D.S.)
Here is the Langstroth hive D.S. brought over to move the bees into.

After a lot of smoke and some patience, D.S. was able to open up the hive in the Sprinkler Box.

Here's another view: the bees are busy gorging themselve on the honey because they are alarmed by the smoke
More bees gorging themselves with honey
We've moved most of the pieces of hive that were extracted from the sprinkler box. These had the growing broods of bee larvae. The hives that had the honey and pollen were put into a bucket and sealed.
Here D.S. is shaking some bees off of the honey/pollen combs so he can take put the combs into the square bucket.

Here is a view of the hive that seemed empty, but it turned out to be full of the larvae. If you look, you can see that the left side has the larger larvae and it gets smaller towards the right. That's because their hatching date differs as the Queen Bee keeps laying in newly made cells.

I've decided that I'd like to eventually start bee-keeping. Perhaps I'll be more knowledgeable by next season when they swarm once again. Thank you D.S. for sharing your knowledge with me and allowin me to experience this!