Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our girls get the job done!

A few weeks ago, Mark got a call from a man who has a very interesting garden on the edge of Columbus. Bob grows tomatoes year-round, and he grows row upon row of cucumbers, squash and peppers in pots, all fed though a drip system of water that is exactly the pH he wants it to be and contains fertilizer.

Bob needed bees. He noticed he didn't have any pollinators visiting his squash and cucumber blooms, and if he didn't get some pollinators, his garden wouldn't produce. So Mark set up a hive, and on 5/27 we drove out to check on them. They're doing well, they're not aggressive, Bob's got cucumbers growing like crazy -- nice and straight -- and he has fallen in love with the bees.

"Where are my guards? Usually I have about 12 bees on the sides of the opening there," he said. "I come out and watch them, and I read they don't start work until 8 o'clock, but these will be up and working around 6!" he bragged. He was tickled with how hard our girls work!

Bob bought a book to learn more about the bees. He chatted about behaviors he's observed, how quickly they ate the sugar water he put out for them . . . all in the tone of voice I've heard in those of us who are engaged in this hot and perplexing task called beekeeping because we are fascinated with the insects.

I suspect that Bob is going to end up becoming a beekeeper himself.

Photo highlights:

Bob is at the end of the growing season for these tomatoes -- they were planted last July!

Yellow squash growing like crazy.

These bees are picture-perfect brood makers -- just the right pattern of brood with honey stored on the corners.

While Mark chatted with Bob, I watched the bees in the box.
 Thanks, Robert, for taking the photos!

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