Category Archives: Gardening and Wildlife

What Beekeeping for Beginners Entails

If you are considering taking up beekeeping as a hobby or maybe even as a small business in your backyard, you are going to need to know what beekeeping for beginners entails. This is why I’m posting this guide for you that will give you helpful steps to show you how you can start beekeeping and producing your very own honey.

 

Beekeeping for Beginners Entails Knowing Something About it

This is a hobby that is actually gaining a lot of attention today. The reason for this is because there is a growing demand for honey because of the health benefits people are learning about and also because it helps to pollinate our plants in our area.

Beekeeping for beginners entails knowing that it also can be a pretty reliable source of supplemental income for the hobbyist or small business owner because you can sell this wonderful honey that your bees make for you and believe it or not, the costs related to taking care of the bees and producing the honey is pretty minimal which means even on a tight budget you can do this.

Beekeeping for beginners entails also realizing that honey consumption is well over 300 million pounds each year just in the US alone and because it’s so popular, you shouldn’t have any problems selling fresh and natural honey to people in your small corner of the world.

However, beekeeping for beginners entails a lot of hard work and decision making. This means that you should decide before hand whether you just want to do it for a hobby and reap the honey for yourself only, or do you want to try to turn it into a lucrative small business?

Beekeeping for Beginners Entails Knowing the Benefits of Beekeeping

There are a vast variety of benefits one can reap from beekeeping and here is a list of just a few of them to think about:

 

  • It’s an activity anyone can do because it requires very little land to set it up on.
  • Even though it can be hard work at times, it does however, during the season, the time is minimal which means that it won’t interfere with your normal work or your daily activities.
  • Investment is minimal and only requires that you have a hive or hives, bee suit and a few simple beekeeping tools.
  • Bees will add value to your other plants that flower or produce fruits, nuts and/or vegetables because of pollination.
  • Beekeeping can generate an income and the amount is up to you.
  • Honey is portable so you can take it anywhere to sell it or give away as gifts.
  • Nearly every product from the honey to the bees wax can be consumed, used as dietary supplements and even used for medicinal purposes.
  • The value of honey is stable and rarely goes down in price which helps make a small business very stable.

If you are truly interested in beekeeping then here are the things you need to know about what beekeeping for beginners entails.

Buy Your Bees

When it comes to what beekeeping for beginners entails, you might think it’s a little odd to order your bees before you have any of your other items you need to set up shop. However, it’s very important that you have your bees at the right time of the year. This is because most of the places that sell bees won’t have any left by the time springtime is here. So, the best time of the year is usually around January to order your bees because then they’ll be shipped or ready for picking up in April or May.

When first starting, the best place for you to get started with bees is by contacting your local beekeeping association, they’ll be able to tell you where you can buy your bees and a lot more information can be gotten from them as well.

Pick the Right Hive System

Beekeeping for beginners entails choosing the right hive or hives for your bees. When it comes to beekeeping, there are two main hive systems that most beekeepers use. One system is called the Langstroth hive system and it’s made up of boxes that are stacked on top of one another. Each box has frames in them where your bees will build their honeycomb and store the honey. You can pull these boxes out just like drawers in order to gain access to your bees, harvest the honey, and to do maintenance. It also allows you to add boxes vertically whenever the hive might need more room.

The other hive system is called the Top Bar system. This is where the frames for the hive are put in horizontally and not vertically. The bees will make their honeycomb without a foundation when you use this system. In this system, every bar will contain honeycomb and honey and then are pulled out from the top of the hive.

You are going to have to decide which is best for you, however, most people work with the Langstroth hive system.

Protective Gear

Be prepared because beekeeping for beginners entails realizing that getting stung is just part of beekeeping. However, if you have the right protective gear you will get stung less and much less severely. Here is a list of gear you should have on hand as a beekeeper.

 

  • Veil – This is going to protect your face and head from being stung by bees and it will become one of the most important pieces of protective gear you’ll own.
  • Gloves – Most beginners will always start off wearing gloves. To save money, you can even use those rubber dish washing gloves. However, the more experienced at beekeeping many times will go without wearing gloves, they can be cumbersome.
  • Bee Suit – This is gear that will protect your whole body from stings. But, generally just full length clothes can be enough. If you want to save on money, try and just get a bee suit jacket instead of the jacket and the pants.

 

Beekeeping Tools

To ensure successful beekeeping, beekeeping for beginners entails knowing which tools are the most important to have on hand in order to work with your bees and the hive. Here is a list of essential beekeeping tools you should have:

 

  • Smoker – This is very important because a smoker will calm the bees before you check them for anything or try and harvest their honey.
  • Hive Tool – This is a small crowbar like took that is used to help you break the boxes apart that make your hive because they will often stick together because of the beeswax.
  • Scraper – This is a tool that will help you remove the buildup of beeswax that might be on the components of your hive.
  • Uncapping Scratcher – This is what is going to help you to uncap the honeycomb in order to release the honey.
  • Honey Extractor – This is the tool that takes the honey from your frames and extracts it from them. You’ll find there are different types and sizes but they all work on the same basic principle. The extractor you choose should be sized according to the amount of hives you have to work with.

 

Even though there is a lot more that needs to be known about beekeeping as a beginner, these are the things you need to know before you set up your hive or hives in your backyard. It’s important to note that you should talk with your neighbors first before starting a hobby like this as well as your local government officials to see if there are any laws against beekeeping or if there are any permits you might need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why The Birds And The Bees Need Your Garden

Or why your new garden needs the birds and the bees. That is going to be the focus of this entire article. It is outlining one of the finest natural examples of successful teamwork. The birds and bees form important and integral parts of your gardening team. And this is being said as a form of giving beginners a lift of encouragement. Doing new things always seems hard at first. Those who are office-bound or administratively inclined may also find the going a bit tough now that they have to immerse themselves a little more in physical labor.

It is a classic case of rolling up your sleeves and getting straight to work. In the gardening enterprise, there is no time for procrastination or delay when sowing the first seeds. Whether your first vegetable crops are going to be all-weather (and we challenge you to research these on the internet) or seasonal (it will be so in most cases and in consideration of your region’s climate) you will always need to be fully on top where your ongoing gardening maintenance is concerned.

We mentioned this in the previous article. There will be no routine. Each week and each month, and every season, will be different. Different tasks will need to be completed in preparation for the next bountiful season. And by maintaining your focus on keeping your garden as organic as possible, you will be contributing greatly and naturally towards the trend of maintaining bird and bee-friendly gardens. Just by following some of the basic rules of readiness during your autumn months, your new garden will be welcoming your first families of birds and bees, and a variety of other insect and reptilian species to boot.

New gardeners should never be squeamish of this prospect of attracting new natural life to their first garden. Here is a quaint anecdote well worth sharing to elevate the importance of keeping those creatures intact in your garden. Young boys can be quite naughty at times, and one of many stories relates to them finding earthworms in their parents’ gardens. And horror upon horror, this is what those fearless little boys proceeded to do. Finding the harmless but ever resourceful earthworms, the boys proceeded to squeeze and dismember them.

Do not ever encourage your children to harm small garden creatures. Also, teach them that they have nothing to fear where these creatures are concerned. They will not harm anyone. They are far too busy doing their own garden cultivating in any case. While the bees will continue to pollinate your flowers, the earthworms are doing something else remarkable in your garden. They feed on the soil and while they are doing this, they are fertilizing the areas surrounding your plants. These are natural wonders always to be enjoyed by the gardener.

It does not matter whether your small plot is suburban or rural; it remains a mini eco-system of life. While your small garden is providing necessary sustenance for the birds and the bees, it is doing other wonderful things too. It can regulate your water drainage, and it can act as buffers to the potentially damaging effects of strong winds if your area is particularly afflicted. And not meaning to sound redundant, the garden remains a primary reservoir for providing both food and shelter of all native wildlife.

The term ‘native wildlife’ seems to be quite pertinent in this day and age. This is because such natives will not always be prevalent in urban or suburban centers where far too much concrete and not enough greenery prevails. But the tiniest of creatures, even healthy bacteria are so resourceful. The birds and bees are two of the best examples of this resourcefulness in sniffing out new spaces to live and thrive in. They are both blessed with wings to fly. And they can travel thousands of miles across the oceans, year in and year out, just to visit your garden.

At this stage, do not be too concerned or perturbed if you are living in the proverbial concrete jungle. Because their survival depends on it, the birds and the bees have managed to adapt themselves to our ever increasing urban environments. But the preparation of your garden remains critical and fundamental to its ability to survive in urban environments. All consideration must be given to the quality and abundance of your newly created little green lungs. This is yet another reminder for you to resort to keeping your garden as organic as possible.

Because this is such an important reminder, let us just repeat what many organic fundamentalists and environmentalists continue to say. In keeping your garden as organic as possible, never use chemically prepared fertilizers or pesticides. And just to add, leave your decaying leaves just as they are. Allow them to naturally fertilize your garden. These basics will ensure that pest hungry insects will also thrive. They, of course, will be feeding on unwanted pests, including potentially hazardous bacteria, hence the need to never have to resort to chemical killers.

For both birds and bees, the prevalence of flowers is always going to be important. Flower-bearing plants provide these creatures with natural sugar in the form of nectar and protein in the form of pollen. Natural growth bee larvae will also develop on pollen collected by the worker bees. So just so you know if you are keen on having birds and bees as regular visitors, or should we rather just say, life-long inhabitors in your garden, do make sure that flowering plants predominate your garden space.

Finally, we are happy to remind you of the ongoing resourcefulness of the internet as a reservoir of information. Make regular use of it to feed yourself with continuous information on how to innovate your garden year in and year out. Be creative in your modus operandi and regard your gardening work as an artistic endeavor over and above feeding the birds and bees just as Mother Nature would want you to do.

The Importance of Bees and Birds in Your Garden

Hey there! Have you been enjoying yourself with us? We reckon that if you’re reading this article today, you must be. You’re really getting into the swing of things, sleeves all nicely rolled up like and ready for the next gardening shift. Awesome, guys! We also reckon that if you’re really this much into your gardening, you really must love nature. And if that’s the case, well, strictly speaking, you love flora and fauna.

Flora, that’s an easy one to figure out, is the plants, trees and flowers in your garden. We hope you’ve got some of those sprouting up by now. Now, this is for those of you who are still struggling to get into the green swing of things. It’s going to be encouraging for you anyhow. Just remember, that if you love plants, you must love animals too. The two go well together. Especially the birds and the bees. No, we’re not here to give you that talk.

Perennial Plants for the Start-up Garden

Hey there all you green fingers! It’s time to get planting again. Come on guys, down on your dirty knees and hands, all soiled green and brown by now. Okay, that part was easy. If you’re reading this now, you’re motivated and excited. You’re really into this green gardening thing. We’re really happy for you because there’s nothing better than gardening to contribute towards you all creating an organic and sustainable life that’s not only good for you and your family, but good for your neighbors and even your city folk too.

We’re also here to tell you that now is not the time to give up. Yes, some of you guys are going to find all this physical and emotionally draining gardening stuff to be really tough, so much so that you may want to chuck it all up. One of the usual reasons for novice gardeners giving up so easily is because they’re doing some of the things wrong. They’re not planting the right plants either. It depends a lot on your natural surroundings and your area’s climate.

Is it too hot and dry, or do you guys get a lot of rain in your area, those sorts of things. Because we’re mainly here to motivate you and give you a push and a shove whenever you need it, we’d like to remind you that when the going gets tough, well, can you complete that positive statement, well, alright then, the tough get going. If you’ve got green fingers, you must be tough. Part of the problem of an unsuccessful first-time gardening campaign, is not planting the right plants.

We’d like to remind you then, especially those of you are who are seeing your plants wilt or shrivel up and dry up completely, that what your soil and garden needs are perennial plants.  Especially for those of you who are completely new to gardening, it’s our job to explain to you all what this basically means. To have perennial plants in your garden means that they’ll be growing and flourishing all year round. Yes, that’s right folks; perennial means all of the time, more or less.

How to Winterize Your Garden

Winterizing garden – this is something that needs to done very carefully and this is the topic on which people keep on asking me questions after questions and very rightly so. This is something that will make your garden ready to face the upcoming long winter months. There is a specific way to do that. Let us look into some of the techniques:

  • Chop, cut, clip and clean: First of all, you need to tidy up your garden and help it get rid of unwanted stuffs. You need to remove the spent stalks and the debris of shrubs or dead plants or the ones that are unwanted or have grown here and there by default. Otherwise all these debris might become home or incubator for pests and diseases once the long chilly winter sets in and everything goes under snow. You need to get rid of the dying foliage as this will give your garden a much trimmer and slimmer look all throughout the winter. Also, it will help remove the grooming chores in the spring that will follow the winter, when you will be carrying out all the “good funny” things and may be planting new seeds and seedlings.
  • Remove Invasives: You need to pull out the weeds or other plants that are unwanted. Here you need to take special care to get rid of the invasive plants, particularly the seed heads. You need to use a covered garbage container to remove the compost pile so that you do not mistakenly spill them while carrying. If left unnoticed, they can again be a home for the pests and diseases that will cause ‘health concern’ for your garden.

How to Attract Beneficial Insects in Your Garden

There is one aspect that helps the very practice of gardening a lot. It is the aspect of pollination. And when it comes to discussing pollination, insects play a crucial role in that. In fact, there are a few beneficial insects that help in pollination. Thus, it is imperative that you try to attract these beneficial insects into your garden. I had succeeded in doing so and I am sure with a little practice and application of thought and imagination you will be able to do the same as well. Let us look into some of the ways to attract these beneficial insects.

  • Frankly speaking, attracting beneficial insects entirely depends upon planting of plants or flowers that attract insects. Some of these insects are very small and they would like to be attracted by smaller flowers like alyssum.
  • You need to allow the plants to grow adequate flowers and that also as fast as possible to attract the insects and hence you would like to create situations conducive to fast growth of the plants and appearance of these flowers.
  • Bees are another variety of beneficial insects and in order to attract bees you need flowers like foxglove. The lip of this particular flower acts as the landing pad for bees and provides them all the chance to collect the nectar. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that bees do not see colors as we do, though they are attracted towards blue and yellow flowers.