The mild weather has allowed my bees to get out and forage, which is useful, as they are light on food. The colonies did not build up well, due to the lack of forage during the Summer, and I was late to start feeding. Having removed the feeders last week, with not enough food being taken down, I had hoped that the bees would bring some Ivy nectar, but that has not been the case. The future for my late season forage is shown below.
Well the original polyculture is progressing nicely, although the initial seeding of chicory was a bit dense, and will need thinning out. In my mid September Update, I tried to explain how the beans were interplanted with the grains, but here are a few pictures, which I hope will clarify my system for you.
The picture below is a variation, which instead of a row of five beans across the bed, has two clusters of four beans, one each side of the centre of the row.
The benefit of this polyculture layout is that the beans could remain, or be cut back, when the second year’s grain and corn are planted. With the first layout, all of the beans are replaced by the new plants.
This post has been a little while in the making, and is a result of a telephone conversation with a friend of mine. She had been worried that despite working long hours, she never seemed to get everything done, or even achieve very much. Initially I was going to list all of the things that I didn’t get done this year, but the list was so long that I would never have finished the post. Instead, I’m going to go through some of the stuff that I did around the smallholding today, and then the stuff that didn’t get done.
It’s been a while since my last post about bees, and wasps, but that’s because things have been going well. My last post on the subject, Wasps, Bees, and doing nothing, told about the problems that I was having. That particular hive was not coping well, and so I opened it up, to find a tiny number of bees, with a queen, but no brood, and only on frame that had been filled with comb. Again, it was a hive that had somehow failed to build up that was struggling.
Most of the progress in my new polyculture has been in my thinking, rather than in the ground, but I wanted to record some of my early thoughts, so that I can look back at how it all developed. The rye has continued to develop ears. Rather than cut them off, I’m going to see if they have enough time to produce some viable seed. To hedge my bets, I’ve germinated another batch. This is a later sowing than the standard Bon Fils method, which is sown at Summer Solstice, but may be more appropriate to Rye. I thought that the early development of ears was due to hot dry conditions, but it may simply be that Rye has a shorter growing season than Wheat/spelt, and therefore was acting like a very late Spring sowing, rather than a very early Autumn sowing. I hope to learn more as I go along. The seed has germinated exceptionally well, 100% in fact, which has meant that I have a few more seedlings than I wanted, (Nick take Note), but can find space for them anyway.