Planter Boxes Filled & the Arrival of our Honeybees
Village Farm Team,
After a lot of hard work and planning, we have most of our boxes on the North Farm planted! In addition to our saffron crocuses and asparagus, we now have a lovely mix of annual and perennial herbs. The annual herbs such as cilantro and basil will have to be re-planted every year. Our perennial herbs on the other hand will live more than two years, blooming through spring and summer, then dying back over the fall and winter before returning the next spring. Among the perennials we have planted are strawberry mint, mojito mint, epazote, Mexican mint marigold, chives, and silver thyme.
We were very excited to welcome about 10,000 new honeybees to our hive this past week! Our bees couldn’t have arrived at a better time because their hive is currently surrounded by blooming white clover, primrose, and coneflower. The bees are taking up residence in our horizontal top bar hive located on the North Farm. This type of hive allows the bees themselves to create the space and shape of the comb rather than a beekeeper. The screen board in the bottom of our hive helps with both aeration and controlling varroa mites. These mites are an external parasite that can be potentially fatal to a bee colony if left unchecked. Thanks to our screen bottom board, as the bees pick these mites off each other, the mites will fall through the screen to the ground below. This particular mite can only move about 3 inches or so before dying so they will not be able to make their way back into the hive once they fall through the screen.
Since our greenhouse is completely full of trays of future summer crops, we’ve officially completed all of our summer crop seeding, save for the varieties being planted directly in the field. Once space is prepared on the North Farm we’ll be able to direct seed watermelons, cantaloupes, and cucumbers. Our watermelons will be a sight to see as the seeds will be planted in mounded up soil resembling hills. Since we have heavier clay soils that do not drain as well as sandy soils, growing in hills ensures optimal water drainage. This method also provides more warmth for the seeds as watermelons typically need a soil temperature around 70 degrees to germinate.