This week it was time to transfer the European Honey Bees from the 5-frame NUCs to their permanent homes, the 10-frame Langstroth Hive. We were able to see lots of eggs and larvae , brood and even one of the Italian Queens, can you find her?
First and foremost to Rob Hartman of the Bee’s Choice Farms, for giving a fellow farmer a hand and helping to get 8 greenhouse endwall posts up and prepped for concrete over 2 days with lots of rain delays. Thanks again!
To Richard, for stopping by at the right time and pitching in on prepping the last 3 posts for before the scheduled concrete arrived.
To Willie at Arnold Brothers, for bringing yet another on-time ready mix delivery!
To Dale at Lamar Outdoor Advertising, for a surprise visit and special delivery!
To Global Fence for recycling with us by bringing a used fence that we can repurpose. The chickens, earthworms and future rabbits will be grateful for the structures we can build with the wood. One less truckload to the landfill 🙂
Alas…then came the rains again….poor Farmer Tim! Tidying up the pours on the last 8 posts and clean up in a torrential down pour 😦
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We had a new Honey Bee ( Apis mellifera ) delivery in the early part of the week from the Bees Choice. Yay! There were some minor delays in getting queens this year due to the massive pesticide incident in California during the end of the pollination of the almond crops. Someone “accidentally” killed 80,000 colonies by tank-mixing pesticides and spraying during the daytime hours while the bees were out foraging. That’s a LOT of bees when you multiply that by 40,000-80,000 per hive. So sad. 1,300 beekeepers suffered losses. This also started the initiatives from the White House to Save the Bees! Without these wonderful pollinators, the United States would be out of food in less that four years!
This brings me back to our little story…in Florida, we have an africanized honey bee drone population for queens to mate with (a no-no), so we have to buy queens from areas that are not yet infiltrated or ones that were artificially inseminated to help dilute this current drone population. The goal is that the more beekeepers we have in Florida that follow the best management practices, the more we can dilute the undesirable traits of the africanized drone population. The beekeepers in most of the southern states have to order queens, in addition to the 1,300 beekeepers that lost their colonies in California, which caused an unexpected high demand and therefore, low supplies and delays. Our queens made a long journey from Hawaii to be with us.
This week, we were at Mote Marine’s Aquaculture Park (sturgeon facility) and ECHO where we made some new friends and met up with the Phil and the crew from Morningstar Fishermen.
The remainder of the week was a clean up week since it’s a holiday weekend – Happy Birthday America!
We’ve added some Resource pages under HOW-TO link in the menu above. Pages that have links are completed, those that do not are planned and we hope to keep adding to these as we go along. Those following us on this blog and Facebook will be the first to know! So, don’t forget to follow us and LIKE us, if you haven’t already.
Currently, we have:
Florida Gardening – planting calendars, guide for herbs, guide for vegetables/fruits, integrated pest identification and options and other useful online resources that we have come across. More coming soon
Florida Beekeeping – calendar of blooming plants, FL BMPs, diseases and pest of the honey bees, beekeeping associations, and other useful online resources that we have come across.
Aquaponics – here we plan to add Q&A type info from the questions we tend to be asked more frequently. Got ?s, let us know. The most specific information on aquaponics will be in the DIY Projects section for those that have attended our classes.
Recipes – here we plan to add recipes for many of the items as we get ready to harvest to allow everyone to see the versatility that heirloom vegetables and fruits can have.
DIY Projects – here we plan to put all the handouts and materials from our various classes. It will be a members-only section, log-in information will be provided at each class.
Still planting and harvesting microgreens (sunflower, radish, broccoli, wheat grass available) and our 3 foot basils (genovese, citrus and thai available). The citrus basil knocks our socks off. It’s really flavorful. Let us know if you want to pop by for an order.
After 6 weeks of discussions, we finally have our occupational license from the City of Cape Coral!! A great big THANK YOU to Vince Cautero for making it happen!
Available next week: Wheat Grass, Popcorn shoots (green and blanched), Pea Shoots w Tendrils; and Microgreens: Broccoli, Fenugreek, Kale, Mustard, Radish, Sunflower
This week we released the composting worms into the media bed to do their thing (vermicomposting). They help break down any excess and dead roots, fish solids, along with other organic matter in the beds that could otherwise produce anaerobic conditions in an aquaponics system. As an added benefit during that process, they release nutrients into the system for the plants to uptake that would not otherwise be available, mostly micronutrients and chelated minerals. Due to our hot climate, we chose a NightCrawler specimen rather than the more common Red Wiggler, who like the cooler temperatures. Didn’t take them long to run from the light.
More on the worms in the coming weeks, including how to build a DIY Worm Tea Brewer. The aerated worm tea contains lots of beneficial microbes that help the plants fight off pests and diseases naturally (not for human consumption). While you are waiting, here’s a great video from Murray Hallam about the Aquaponics Secret Weapon – the worms!
The Red Nile Tilapia are getting to a good healthy size. They are ranging now from 1″-3 1/2″ still being fed pellet crumbles and few whole pellets.
The Blue Nile Tilapia are enjoying some duckweed in addition to the pellet rations. Some are getting to be breeder size. Time to build the hatchery!
Reloading the DIY Black Soldier Fly BioComposter… papaya and other goodies we didn’t get to in time.