Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Honey harvest, squash problems

When I combined the weak hive with the swarm hive a few weeks ago, I created a towering megahive with 5 brood chambers and 3 honey supers. This hive was taller than me, and much more than the bees could police. To help remedy this situation, on Sunday we removed the uppermost medium (brood) box, which was chock full of capped honey. After extracting, we ended up with 25 pounds of beautiful amber honey. This appeared to include some honey from nectar collected last fall and some new honey from this spring. It is delicious. The bees seemed to be working hard, but I did not go all the way down into the bottom of the brood chamber to look for the queen or new brood. For now we will just keep our fingers crossed.

Although the photo of the squash plant with blossoms and the interplanted flat leaf parsley and thai basil looks lovely, in reality I am having a real problem with my squash. They begin to develop beautifully, start to get some good size on them, and then the front half of the fruit begins to dry out and shrivel. The stalk end continues to enlarge and grow perfectly, but the squash as a whole goes downhill. This does not look like blossom end rot, as the squash gets pretty good sized before it begins to shrivel, and the end does not rot, it just dessicates. Water is not an issue, as the plants are well watered and have not wilted at any point. So far I have lost most of my squash to this (probably 19 yellow squash and 12 zucchini). I will let you know what I learn about this problem.

Many of my perennial flowers are in full bloom now, including this hardy hibiscus. The deep red flowers each bloom for only one day, but are the size of dinner plates. The blooms open a few at a time over a few weeks. These plants can tolerate damp feet, and appear happy in my sometimes soggy front bed. The die back completely in the winter, but spring up each summer with larger, thicker stalks and more flowers.