Reassigning Untended Plots by July 5

Hi folks!

I’m just dropping a note to let you know that overall, I think the garden looks pretty great. But a few plots (and maybe you know who you are?) don’t look so great. They’re either not planted or overgrown with weeds or completely not overlooked, sad, empty, searching for fulfillment….   or actually have gone rogue, spilling into the walkways, or shading other plots!
I’m setting a deadline of July 5th for you to have your plot tended, or I’ll be giving it out. This will be your only warning. If your plot is in good shape, then you have nothing to worry about. And that’s pretty generous, really.. it’s more than 3 weeks, which is ample time.
July 5 also gives time for the new resident to get some overgrown tomatoes planted and maybe some lettuce and already-started cucumbers and peppers so the plot doesn’t just die a lonely, neglected, and jealous existence.
If you haven’t been down to tend your plot in the last while, then, well, maybe it would be in your best interest to get down to it.
Also, if you have not actually paid for your plot, you’re a bad person, and if I had a nun’s habit and a ruler, I’d smack you on the backs of your hands; lucky for you, I have neither of these things.
Please send your payment if you have’t made it yet to:
Fox Point Community Garden
PO BOX 603127 
PROV  RI  02906
Thank you for participating. 🙂
[ originally sent by email ]

Candied Bacon

There’s always candied bacon at the garden potlucks, because I always bring it. Now you can too, because I’m about to divulge my secret recipe. Vegetarians look away!

IMG_5332

It’s not actually my recipe – my mom found it in a newspaper years ago and mailed it to me as a joke. It turned out to be amazing and very easy, making it ideal for a party. Here’s what you need:

1 lb bacon

4 tbsp packed brown sugar

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Dash of black pepper

Dash of cayenne pepper

Self-control

That’s it! And the last two are optional. Preheat your oven to 400F and mix up all your dry ingredients in a bowl. I tend to do very generous spoonfuls.

IMG_5283

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. This is a messy dish, and you’ll be glad for the foil when it’s time to clean. Cut your bacon strips into thirds and lay ’em out flat. It’s fine if they overlap.

IMG_5286

Mix your dry ingredients together into a tasty powder.

IMG_5292

Shake it out over your bacon so it’s evenly coated, and pop it in the oven.

IMG_5308

Take it out 15 minutes later. By this time your house will have filled with a smell. The smell will make you wonder why you ever eat anything else. This is normal.

IMG_5315

Transfer the bacon to a few layered paper towels. Take it to your engagement or function, or eat it all yourself if your heart’s had it too easy lately.

IMG_5322

A Successful Potluck

Thank you thank you to everyone who came out last night to the first potluck of the year!

IMG_5354

We had revelry!

IMG_5352

We had lively discussion!

IMG_5345

And of course we had food. I don’t know who brought the chocolate and berry oatmeal bars, but they were excellent.

IMG_5339

Likewise with the quinoa squash salad.

IMG_5336

I brought my traditional candied bacon, which is always a hit despite being the only non-vegetarian, non-good-for-you option. I’ll do a post with the recipe to follow.

IMG_5332

Norma brought a strawberry rhubarb pie so good it disappeared before I could get a picture of it.

IMG_5334

And Justin and Keri brought homemade sushi. The secret ingredient? Cilantro!

IMG_5330

This was far from all the food – not pictured was popcorn, watermelon, roast vegetables, quiche, and all kinds of other goodies.

Potluck status: success!

A Trip to Bee Town

Another day, another glowing bee report!

We went into the hive again this weekend, and the bees couldn’t be doing better. This frame, taken from somewhere in the middle of the box, is almost completely covered in capped brood, with a band of capped honey in the top left corner.

IMG_4985

This one has more of a smattering of capped brood – maybe that means it’s older and a lot of the larvae on this frame have already emerged. Last time we inspected we spotted the queen but no brood, which meant she may not have mated yet. She clearly has now, which means her sole objective is egg laying. She has enough sperm stored up in her body (bees do it a little differently than we do) that she’ll never need to mate again. Barring a swarm, she’ll never even need to leave home.  IMG_4992

Just one frame over we found uncapped brood. Look carefully inside the cells. See those white C-shapes? Those nasty little maggotty things? Those are baby bees! If you look closely, you can see that they get progressively bigger from left to right. That means the queen worked her way from right to left and the larvae on the right are just that much older and, therefore, bigger. It takes just 21 days to go from a tiny egg to a fully formed bee, so every minute of development counts!

IMG_4983

This is the same frame, shifted slightly to the right. A lot of the larvae are big, and four of them have already been capped – those are the four cells around the middle that are opaque. The worker bees seal off the larvae with a layer of wax once they reach a certain size. In the sealed cell the larva will grow into a pupa, something that looks a lot more like a bee than these little grubs. Eventually she’ll become an adult and chew her way through the wax cap, ready to get to work. By mid-June all these gross little worms will be full-grown bees and all the bees in this picture will dead or on their last legs. Bee time moves fast.

IMG_4982

This progression from empty and capped brood to mostly open brood meant we were following in the queen’s tracks. She works methodically, laying from one frame to the next. And sure enough, there she was in the next frame. There’s a little bit of everything going on here. The whole left corner is a swath of capped honey. Coming in from the right is a patch of capped and soon-to-be capped brood. The white dotted queen is bustling around in the middle, above a really nice patchwork of pollen. The pollen will be mixed with honey into a tasty sludge called bee bread and fed to the brood.

IMG_4995

Bee colonies have personalities, just like any animal, and this one is nice and easy going… until we get too close to their queen. We can always tell we’ve pulled out her frame before we see her because the bees get more agitated and aggressive. No stings yet, but there’s a lot of movement and angry buzzing.

IMG_4997

It’s not all babies in beetown. This frame was extra heavy with uncapped honey. The honey starts out high in moisture and is left open to the air to evaporate. As it distills down, the bees combine it into fewer and fewer cells. Once they have a cell full of honey down around 18% moisture, they cap it with wax to stop it evaporating more. At this low moisture content, the honey won’t ferment and can be stored all through the winter. How do the bees know all this? Magic.

IMG_4976

Since the bees are doing so darn well, we made some big adjustments to their hive. We took away their jar of syrup. This is a bit of a controversial move, and a lot of beekeepers in the area are still feeding. There are flowers galore now, though, and our jar looked to have been emptied a while ago. We think they’ll be fine. In the place of the jar we added a second hive body with ten more frames. The bees haven’t quite filled out their current box (two or three frames are still empty) but they’re moving fast and it’d be such a shame to overcrowd them and cause a swarm.

We put a shim between two boxes. It’s just a square of wood two inches high with a hole drilled in it. This should give the bees a little more ventilation and room to come and go.

IMG_5003

We also removed our entrance reducer – this big piece of mesh that keeps out opportunistic mice in cold weather and makes the hive more easily defensible for a new, weak colony.

IMG_5006

This is our entrance now, with plenty of room for foragers to come and go. I really hope our colony’s tough enough to defend all this new open space. We’re probably going to put in a moderate entrance reducer until they build up their numbers some more. For the time being, they seem to be enjoying the new easy landing. Check out the two foragers with loaded pollen pockets! There are obviously at least two pollen sources coming in right now – one golden yellow and one bright orange.

IMG_5022

Here’s another from the yellow source touching down after a flight. She’ll go inside, hand her pollen off to the house bees, and probably turn right around to make another trip. Unless another bee gives her a hot tip about an even better or closer pollen source.

IMG_5021

Like that cool bright orange stuff.

I’ve also published this on my personal blog. Pop on over if you want to read about my adventures outside the garden.

 




 

Thursday, June 9th, 6:30pm

First potluck of the season. Norma’s bringing Strawberry-Rhubarb pie.  YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS IT!   Thursday, June 9, 6:30pm

potluck

Please bring something to share, and maybe a chair! But definitely plates and re-usable silverware!

Pack it all in a sack; it’s not just a snack! It’s our first seasonal garden PAT LACK. 

If you can remember to do so, please bring an ingredients list for people with food allergies or diet restrictions. We should have some paper and a pen handy in case you forget, so don’t fret.  Also, if you owe the garden any money, this would be a good time to come pay it.

  —-  be there or be [] —-

 

Sign up for the Wait List

Sign Up Here

The wait list page is password protected to prevent spam. Use foxpoint as the password.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.