Friday, September 2, 2022

MidSummers Nightly Update

"What is right in one case is not what is right in another; What is wrong in one case is not what is wrong in another." - Huainanzi

Smiling Garlic
There's always goodness to see in the world, it's just a matter of if you choose to see it; such as this smiling garlic.

This has been quite an interesting year so I figured I'd write a quick midsummer update on what is going on in the urban farm.  So far the weather has been fairly mild this year compared to others.  There was snow in the last week of May but no other notable storms, there was a fair amount of rain early on in the summer then as things dried and heated up, no major storms to speak of (so far, knock on wood).  Longs Peak mountain (14,259 ft / 4,346 m) to the direct west continues to do a top notch job of splitting storms to go north and south of town, generally sparing Longmont of any major storms that are moving the typical west to east direction.

Despite it being a mild year, the plants certainly seem to be acting a bit odd.  The spring radishes were basically non-existent.  I thought I planted them at the right time but most of them bolted.  The carrots simply never grew.  I put down so much carrot seed and none of them took.  Everything has been delayed by a few weeks, certainly due to the late snow.  The tomatoes, peppers, and squash are all now just coming in full force.  Mid to late August is pretty late in the year for those to just now be thriving and producing.  Normally that's late to mid July.  Cucumbers are mediocre, gotten a few but the plants have been growing slowly, very slowly.  Beans are just now producing - very late.  Potatoes turned out pretty well.  Got a few berries on the berry bushes that are now 2 years old.  They're very tasty, hopefully next year is the year they really thrive.  The sunflowers didn't grow - really weird - potentially due to the late snow.  Normally snow doesn't phase sunflowers but perhaps the sunflowers had just sprouted when the snow hit, which would almost certainly kill the sprouts.  The russian red kale that was covered over the winter came back this year - apparently you can make kale a perennial - most of the leaves are pretty small though - not the gigantic leaves.  There are melons!  Apparently starting the watermelons and other melons inside is key - they are currently growing like crazy - one was sliced up and it was very tasty.  Great year for flowers.  Bumper year for tomatoes and peppers.

Not getting mass amounts of squash or really anything other than tomatoes and peppers, which is quite odd.  Started making soups in the slow cooker with Italian sausage, tomatoes, peppers, etc. and freezing that for the winter.  I was planning on experimenting more-so with simple soups this year anyways so that worked out well.  With the garden currently lacking in freezable bumper crops (such as squash) I think I can make up for it with making mass amounts of soups - which sounds delicious.  I also still have about 3/4 of a deep freezer of frozen vegetables from last year so between that and soups I should be able to easily go through the winter into next year only on what is in the deep freezers.

Bees are cool and not that scary.  Well they're scary at first, which goes for anything that is new.  They are a lot like the garden though, they have a lot to teach and you need to work with them.  When in doubt, leave them alone.  Been monitoring and measuring the mite levels and it hasn't gotten over 1% yet, which is fantastic.  Mite count is currently extremely low and they're looking great for the winter.  I'll be curious to see if the mite level is the same come spring or if it has risen significantly, etc.  I wasn't planning on getting any honey from the bees this year since it's their first year and they need as much honey as possible for the winter.  However they've been extremely healthy (as far as I can tell) and the hive grew like crazy.  I unexpectedly put a honey super on and took it off in mid August so they have plenty of time to get ready for the winter.  The honey super contains 42 lbs of honey, which is nuts.  I'll be leaving them with a 2 box setup for the winter, their top box is currently full of honey (small amounts of brood in it but mostly honey).  Which seems to be around 100 lbs of honey and they likely have more in the bottom box (I didn't look at it, they were not happy to see me).  So by the time winter rolls around they should have roughly 100 to 150 pounds of honey for themselves for the winter and I got 42 lbs.  Which means they will be keeping roughly 70 to 80 percent of the honey they produced and I took roughly 20 to 30 percent of their honey.  Plus they have a very low mite count.  Fantastic!  Bee keeping has been a crazy amount of fun, I really hope the hive makes it through the winter.  If they do then I'll be splitting this hive into a second hive come spring-time.  Apparently if you provide bees with a very diverse amount of plants extremely close to their hive, they thrive and have very little trouble with mites (so far anyways).  On another note, I swear the bees recognize me when I'm around the hive.  I'm not sure if they "see" me or sense me or what but it seems like they know who you are - which seems odd - it could be that I'd just prefer them to recognize me in some way, shape or form though.  But they do seem to treat me a lot different from my housemate.

Garter snakes have become a lot less scary and are more of a novel encounter now-a-days.

Neighbors are increasingly interested in what I have going on in the urban farm.  Vegetables and flowers are making more and more appearances in more neighbors yards in the neighborhood!

That's the gist of what's going on in the urban farm this year.  Some things are going well, some are not.  Such is life though and it's fun regardless!

Keep it real ya'll!!!

Look at all that honey!

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