Blog Archive

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Salad Table Experiance

Earlier this summer I discoverd from the Maryland Agricurtrial department the idea for a salad table. Now Mind you my wife was not on board with the idea at first. but as the project developed she got on board real quick.

The Salad table is essentially a table that is about 3" to 4" deep that is filled with dirt in order to grow vegetables in. It is waist high with three compartments.


The bottom is covered with aluminum door screen from Lowes home improvement store and then lined with a sheet of newspaper and finnally filled with compost. This year we grew a loose leaf salad lettuce radishes and spinach.
The idea is that you can cut the greens and they will fill back in for some time to come. When they quit producing then you pull them out and replant. Lettuce Radishes and spinich only take about 30 days before you can start harvesting real food!

Tasty looking dont you think? This picture is about 15 days in or so. It is late in the season andwe have passed the extreme heat that has been thesummer of drought and opressive heat. On average during summermonths the salad table will consume about 2 gallons of water a day.
This is a great addition to a pation or pool deck in our case. It is right outside the kitched door, on a saturday morning it is nice to have a fresh spinach omlet straight from the salad table. Radishes, Spinich and lettuce makes a pretty mean salad too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Top Bar Bee Hive Bee keeping

Top bar bee hive - Bee keeping - 2012

March - 2011, This is the top bar hive I constructed for this season of bee keeping. Unfortunately this year the hive beetles got the best of all of us. The package I installed in March grew and expanded nicely and due to a very dry summer and lack of feeding the population of the hive started to decrease. the decrease in population, hive beetles and a very strong neighboring hive robbing was more than this family could take.

The construction for the hive is very straight forward and I was able to use reclaimed fence materials for the main structure of the hive body.  One of the most fascinating things about top bar beekeeping to me is the utilization of materials, with a typical Langstroth hive and hive bodies with frames as a bee keeper we must build and store all the frames and "boxes" for future growth with our colonies. With the top bar hive the bees simply expand horizontally. There are no extra pieces to add to the colony as they expand.

The bars labeled with a B note brood frames with a specific spacing for rearing brood and the other label if an H for honey stores. All the bees have to do is look at my notes on the top of the bar and they know what to put there... OK, that might be a little silly all of my bees are a Russian strain they cant read English anyway. All kidding aside there is a dimension that is more suitable as Dr. Langstrough determined for brood 1 1/4" and although 1 1/4" works for honey too the preferred dimension for Honey stores is 1 3/8".
I cut a slot in the top bar and I melded the wax foundation into the grove giving the bees a natural start to their comb.

The window adds a nice view port to inspect the interior of the colony without disturbing them.

March 2012, Follow up note - this was completed in 2011 this experiment at the moment was not a success. the top bar colony died of starvation about half way through the season and were also subject to robbing from a neighboring more agreessive hive. I am still a fan of theTBH however the overall management of the hive and the honey production from it is certainly less than traditional hive construction. If I have an opportunity to capture a swarm this year I will add it to this TBH and start again.