Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Drones in the making

beekeeping drones

At the end of last week, before the rains, I could go and help my beekeeper friend.
We had had some wonderful weather, but then some bad weather - with snow, so I wasn't sure what I would get to see.
I was so surprised to see the busy bees had not been idle. They have made loads and loads of new cells, they have started producing drones and swarming could be eminent. Hopefully not too soon, as I still have to organize a hive :O

Isn't it all sooooo exciting?
Will keep you up to date :)
Pin It!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

In the Garden Take 2 :)

On Thursday, Stefan and I spent the day ripping out the cellar ceiling so that we can insulate the room a little better - man was that dusty work.
As soon as we start to get somewhere on our storage cellar, I will show you our progress.

On Friday, the sun came out for a short spell, our vermiculite arrived and so we grabbed the opportunity to finish our garden setup.

square foot gardening setup

First we leveled the garden slightly, to ensure that the beds will sit flat on the earth.
Then we laid out the fleece which will sit under the beds.

square foot gardening layout

Next, after screwing the beds together we placed them on top of the fleece.

square foot gardening Mel's Mix sfg

We laid out a tarp and got ready to mix our soil:

1/3 Peat Moss substitute
1/3 Vermiculite
1/3 Compost mix (We had a mix of 2 different soils)

For each of our beds we needed 150 litres of each component.
The vermiculite (in the image above on the right) has the weirdest feeling to it. It feels as light as styrofoam, but when squashed between the fingers it stays that way - very weird stuff indeed LOL!

square foot gardening Mels' Mix

Once they were all mixed - and extremely heavy, we (well actually Stefan did most of the work, after the work in the cellar the day before I was still suffering from stiff arms :)) pulled the tarp to the bed and filled each of them.

Square foot garden bed layout sfg

I think they look super! The soil is so nice and fluffy. 
Since then we have continual rain, so I haven't been out to see how the soil has settled, but will do as soon as we have a drop of sunshine.

Next on the agenda is to build the conduit growing columns to fit on the beds, and surround the garden with some kind of fence. My neighbour has a pesky goat that tends to jump over any fence and eat the garden empty! I won't be too impressed should that happen!

We will keep you updated, thanks so much for visiting.
Pin It!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Off the drawing board and into the Garden :)

weeding sfg

On Wednesday, Stefan and I could finally get out into the garden.

The Vermiculite had not yet arrived, but we thought it would be a great time to start removing the winter coverage and getting the beds ready for what was to follow. 

The sun was out, what can I say, that is a good enough reason as any to be out in the garden!

square foot gardening tips

After removing most of the coverage, we took out our planks and laid them on the ground so that we could get an image of what was to come - and because we wanted to explain what we envisioned to neighbours and in-laws - a "Hands-On" approach :)

square foot gardening setup

I can't wait to get started!
Pin It!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Square Foot Gardening in Earnest.

square foot gardening

Last week, you know, when we had spring :O, Stefan went out and arranged all the extras that we will be needing to set up our garden - Well the half of it anyway.

It has proved to be a lot harder than we had thought, as not all of the materials are readily available to us, and those that are, are quite costly.

So this is what we have got so far:

  • The wood for two beds ( We will get the rest of the wood at the end of this month or the end of May, all weather permitting!)
  • The Fleece for under the beds
  • Peat Moss Alternative - There is almost no possibility to buy Peat Moss here as the swiss do not want to sell it as it is a dwindling natural resource.

We have our own garden compost, which we will be using and buying an extra two or three different composts to add to that.

Our Vermiculite is also on the way, we finally found it through a tobacco growing company and have ordered enough for the two beds to start with.

Stefan has worked out that we will need 150 litres of each of the 3 soil components for each bed.

Our costs so far (2 Beds which equal 4 x 4 ft beds):

Wood, Fleece and Peat Moss Alternative - approx. $230
Vermiculte - $200

Understandably this cost is a once off which is a relief, as once they are standing it will be just a matter of topping up on the compost each year.

Do you garden in the SFG style?
Any tips?

Pin It!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Garden Planning - or Not?

After the brief couple of gorgeous days we had last week, we got busy sowing seeds and getting the SFG stuff that we needed to set up and then this:

winter swiss alps

Does that look like spring to you? No, not to us either :(
So after the perfect start we are back to mid-winter, which causes a slight predicament in itself - as we thought we were way behind, we sowed all the nice new seedlings for our garden in the Jiffy Grow boxes - so obviously they started to grow!

Jiffy Pro7

Now spring needs to hurry up! 
Pin It!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rather Late than Never!

square foot gardening seeds jiffy

I must admit, Spring really did jump on us this year. The last 3 weeks we thought it had forgotten about us, and so we weren't very motivated to get a move on, then 2 days ago - Spring - Just like that!
I jumped on the bandwagon and filled up my Jiffy Grower with some new hopefuls for our beds:

jiffy pro

This is how they look this morning. I leave them in our bathroom over night as it seems to be the warmest room in the house.

The only section of this Jiffy that bothers me is this:

jiffy pro

Is that normal - asks the novice gardner? I am sure it is my passion-flower seeds which did this to me earlier on in the year, now I am wondering if this is just what they do?

 Last time we threw the seeds out, should we do that again?

Anyway in this Jiffy we have:

Cherry Tomatoes
Passion Flower
St. Johns' Wort
Lemon Balm

In the top image, you can see a new set of very cool veg and fruit that arrived today. 

We will be setting that Jiffy up a little later.

As I chat with you, Stefan is out and about fetching some wood for our first bed.
We will be staggering our beds as to be quite frank, they will be costing a small fortune to set up.
More about that in the next post.
Have a wonderful, industrious, spring day.

Pin It!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Beekeeping


What an exciting weekend :)

I do apologize that we have been a little quiet on this side, but we haven't had any good weather as of late and so nothing really to talk about. The garden planning is still going forward, and we should have loads to share with you in the next couple of weeks.

I mentioned in the last post that I have started a beekeeping course and I am loving it.


Yesterday we opened up all the hives in the "Learning Beekeeper Estate" to see how things are going.
I found it absolutely amazing how from hive to hive each population was completely different to the last.
Some were raring to go, strong and already busy on the drone combs, and other colonies not nearly ready.

At the estate, they have a typical bee-house, and also free standing hives.

Today, the local beekeeper in our area called to let us know that he was going to be looking in on his bees and that if we wanted to come along and help we were welcome to do so.
Stefan and I went to go and help - I think I have infected Stefan with my bee-enthusiasm as he now can't wait to have bees either :)

Again, today was a total different experience. Our beekeeper has 13 colonies, all alive and well.
He has only a bee-house, roomy and airy!


Are you a beekeeper?
Do you have free standing hives or a house?

See you soon.
Natalie and Stefan

Pin It!

Infolinks In Text Ads