Small hive beetles are a pest and a terrible nuisance, but as we learned oh so painfully, they can destroy a weakened hive if they become established and do as they are wont to do: reproduce prolifically. I’ve never had a sadder (or more disgusting) moment in beekeeping than dealing with that lost hive. As such, we are working to become better managers of varroa and small hive beetles, the jerks.
While we were on our two-week vacation, the garden was on the cusp of bursting with produce. We kept up with what was growing as we neared our vacation. Mostly. We told our friend who was house-sitting that she could take home all the cucumbers she wanted, but we asked that she chuck any ripe tomatoes into a bag in the freezer if she had the time and inclination. (I’d have offered our peppers, but she’s really allergic… so that suggestion could certainly have been misinterpreted!).
As I described in a post on how to use stock panels as trellises six weeks ago, we set up stock panels with rebar and a mile (okay, not quite) of twine as our pole-bean trellises this year. While six weeks may not be long enough to dub an experiment a rousing success, I am certainly quite pleased with the results so far.
We planted three beds of green beans this year, all different varieties. My Landreth Bush Beans hit the ground running, and we ate delicious fresh green beans in stir fries and as sides before I admitted defeat and canned two quarts of them using the raw-pack method. Now, my Cherokee Trail of Tear and Purple Podded pole beans are producing an equally abundant amount of green beans just in time for the July Food in Jars Mastery Challenge for Hot Pack Preserving.
This year’s harvest of garlic outperformed last year’s paltry crop in ways that aren’t really comparable. We might have hoped this year’s bulbs would be a touch larger than they were, but, really, I’m still quite pleased. Last year’s harvest was so abysmal and small that we didn’t even eat them. The effort of peeling the cloves wasn’t worth mincing such little things, so we just kind of let them sit in a bin in the garage until we disposed of them furtively and with no small amount of hope for bulbs growing away under layers and layers of mulch.
I was beelining to the hold for pick-up shelf at my local library when I passed a display called something akin to “Learn a New Hobby This Summer!” Or maybe it was “Books Designed to Entice Rachel to Stop and Learn a Gazillion New Skills and Improve Others.” Either way, the display title was enough for me to ditch my beeline and spend several minutes flipping through various crafty themed books.
I’m on my third go-around of starting a package of bees and hoping that the resulting hive will survive the winter. Let me tell you, this year has been just another massive learning curve following a thoroughly different and unexpected trajectory.