Although the weather still struggles to warm up  – it has been a busy week with much to finish up before the planting season arrives.

Indoor Seedlings:

We keep our regular shop lights about 1-1/2" from the tops of the plants to keep them growing slow and strong.
We keep our regular shop lights about 1-1/2″ from the tops of the plants to keep them growing slow and strong.

All of our garden seedlings are now up, under lights, and growing strong indoors. The ornamental peppers have filled in well  – and in the last week, the heirloom tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, broccoli and the rest of the main garden plants have all germinated. In order to keep them growing slow and strong – we keep our regular flourescent shop lights at 1 and 1/2″ from the top of the plants. Although that may seem close –  it keeps the plants from becoming weak and spindly from reaching too high for the light.  The shop lights really work well – and are a huge savings over buying unnecessary and expensive “grow” lights.  (See: Starting Seeds Indoors)

Getting Ready For More Bees:

We spent the last week building frames and our bee hives.
We spent the last week building frames and our bee hives.

The last week has also been spent working on assembling and painting the new beehives for the farm.

Our two packages of bees and queens are scheduled to arrive on April 18th – although I am pretty certain it may end up being a few weeks later due to the weather. The extreme cold and late arrival of spring here will most likely delay the delivery a few weeks – but no matter what – we need to be ready to go when they arrive.

The original plan was to add two more hives to our existing hive for a total of three. Sadly – we discovered a few weeks back that our main hive did not make it through the winter.  In talking with other beekeepers around the area – we were not alone. It is just one more reason to start with multiple hives when beginning.

We use a lot of honey throughout the course of a year
We use a lot of honey throughout the course of a year

Hopefully this will be a better year for them. The bees play such an important part in our farms success – both in the form of pollinating our crops – as well as providing us all of our honey that we use in so many of our recipes.

Collecting Rain Water:

Last but not least – we spent time getting our rain water collection system cleaned up and back in place.  Without a well on the property yet – we use the rain water for all of our watering needs throughout the year.  The system has worked wonders – collecting rain water from our barn roof into two 275 gallon holding tanks.  (See: Our Rain-Water Collection System)

Oh – and on the subject of those tanks.  There are certain unwritten rules in life that should always be followed. Number 1 on the list is to always listen to your wife when she warns of an impending danger that you do not deem relevant.

One of our rain water collection tanks set up at the barn.
One of our rain water collection tanks set up at the barn.

“So do you think we need to strap those tanks down to the truck?”  Those were the words my wife uttered to me at the farm after we had hoisted up the two large 275 gallon plastic water tanks onto our old Ford Flatbed truck.  We were taking them home to power wash before setting them up for the year.

I laughed and said “Noooo – they are heavy enough and will be fine”   Needless to say – about 2 miles down the road – almost as if on cue – I watched in the rear view mirror in total shock and disbelief as one of the tanks slowly lifted up and began to fly from the truck.  

Through some miracle – as I took my foot off of the accelerator – it teetered and then settled back down into the bed of the truck as I pulled over. I have to admit – for a few seconds – I was in total fear with a lump in my throat as I envisioned our tanks being destroyed on the highway!

My wife, in the car behind of course – pulled over behind me.  I dared not look back because I knew I would see that “I told you so” smile on her face. Finally, not being able to stand it any more – I looked up and we both busted out laughing.  The moral of the story – well, you know – I will listen next time! 🙂

Happy Gardening – Mary and Jim!

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