Emily’s trying a new variety of garlic this year, Kilarney Red. It’s a hardneck from Ireland, which we figured would be a good fit, as Ireland has the same mesothermic maritime environment that we do. We may have guessed right- look at how big and green that garlic is, and it’s not even April!
I also went out and checked the bees today, during a brief lull in the weather. This is the second busiest time of the year for the bees (after honey season) as they are starting to build their numbers rapidly to be ready for the fair weather and flowers that are on the way. For me, it’s spring cleaning time: open up the hives, clean out the winter debris and dead bees, replace bottom boards, swap out any broken equipment. The bees do NOT like to be disturbed from their long winter’s nap, let me tell you. There was quite a bit of buzzing and flying at my face butt-first. Lucky, BEE VEIL! And the good news? It appears that all five of my colonies survived. That’s a big deal, because in the last few decades, national bee losses have been in excess of 30% every winter! I’d like to think it was my fantastic skills as a beekeeper that kept my buzzers alive, but I suspect there’s a bit of luck in there too. But I can settle for that. My overwinter survival record thus far:
2012: 0 of 2 colonies
2013: 3 of 3 colonies
2014: 5 of 5 colonies