Gardening classes and Volunteer events in Boone County Kentucky
I just got an email from the Boone County Cooperative Extension on classes and events available to gardeners in the Cincinnati/Kentucky area. The Boone County extension is approximately 20 minutes from the Covington/Cincinnati International Airport. There is so much to do out at this facility and it is located near the Boone County Arboretum. There are a number of events and opportunities to volunteer and work alongside of some very gifted gardeners and mentors. What a great way to spend a day chatting, learning, gardening and making some great new friends.
There is even a free class being offered on ornamental trees and landscaping with them Tuesday April 17, 2012. The website is filled with so many great links to other events as well. See you there!
Mason Bees Osmia lingaria
How to increase garden productivity without getting stung.
After visiting the grocery store last week I am not afraid to admit I am still reeling from the sticker shock of $3.99 for a simple Red Pepper. After coming to grips with the ever increasing food costs I left the grocery store, yes I had the Red Pepper, however I vowed not to have to buy anymore Red Peppers (unless a special occasion) again until mine ripen. I realized at that point although that I am going to need many more Red Peppers and squash and other delicious veggies if I am going to take on the grocery stores. I could buy from the local farmers market but I still thought I have the soil, water and lots of the same sun. I am even more charged with becoming a self sustaining family to my best ability. I can do this. I am a gardener.
I do have regular Honey Bee hives and I am excited about their prospects however this afternoon I read an article that Mason Bees are less likely to swarm or sting and their pollinating abilities are unmatched. Could it be true even more happy pollinating in my garden?
Since this project requires very little from me other then carrying out my drill, and extension cord I am presently heading out to drill some holes in a log. Once the task is completed I will securely place it in a tree close by a second garden I am planning. A note should be made that Mason Bees need mud and if you do not have a water source nearby you will need to supply some area where mud can be acquired by the bees.
Although all of this should make for an interesting science experiment and theory I am not sure my results will be notable the first season, although I look happily for ward to the results.
Since the Mason Bees have already started their mating and nesting leaving me a bit behind in the condo building department. I must act quickly and probably into the night, I will post pictures with An update shortly regarding any success I might incur.
The positive aspects of the Mason Bee are fairly simple, their nests; Mason Bees do not have hives, they are inexpensive to construct as a simple piece of untreated lumber 4 inches by 4 inches by 6 inches or more in length with holes drilled 1 inch apart with a 5/16 inch drill bit is all that is required for their nesting demands. It has been recommend to me by a number of sources that like with my Honey Bee hives painting a brightly colored design on the outside is helpful for the bee so that it can more easily locate their particular hive.
Well off to build my Mason Bee Condos. You can find many different site which offer information and helpful project plans, but I am going with the simplest and easiest this time. Next week Bluebird Houses!
My honey bees have taken their first cleansing flight. I am excited by their slow but pure activities. To my bees their first flight is akin to our spring cleaning. How exciting it is to know the wonders they do for both my garden and the world. I believe sometimes the poor Honey Bee does not get the attention it deserves and unfortunately from people that are not familiar with the Bee, associate it with the more aggressive wasp and yellow jacket. Honey Bees are only aggressive when provoked or they feel their hive is in danger. This is a organized community with each bee assigned a job and the guard bees take their jobs very seriously.
As a "newbie" bee keeper, I have walked a difficult path as I try to determine the "Good" Bee Keepers from the "not Good" Bee keepers. Some Bee keepers are unscrupulous and have no ethics,they look at the bee industry as a way to make money and do not care if they sell hives that might be carrying mites or other disease that could contaminate and even kill nearby hives. I almost got caught in that and luckily common sense prevailed and a experienced mentor who I was lucky to find through a local bee keeping organization alerted me to the unreliable dealer.
Along the way I have learned that there is a underworld of bee Keepers, one may even be living next door to you and even if you live in a city many rooftops are playing hosts to local bee keeper hobbyist and their bees. The most important thing I believe from the stand point of a neighbor, the bee keeper needs to keep local individuals aware that there is a hobbyist hive nearby and in most areas you are required to register yourself as a beekeeper with your local government.
I had always known that bees were responsible for the pollination of most of our agriculture, 80% brought it all closer to home.
Honey Bees unfortunately get a bad wrap and rather unjustly of being similar to the aggressive wasp and yellow jackets. Honey Bees are not naturally aggressive and spend their lives working in organized communities where each bee has an assigned job.
So now I have these wonderful Italian Honey Bees that will hopefully spend their summer days pollinating my fruit trees, rose bushes, native plants. Their existence has even encouraged me to expand my heirloom vegetables, and fruit tree collections. Yes I have those beautiful heirloom seeds germinating away.
With all of the above said I expect fully to have a pantry full of canned fruits and vegetables and a garden full of incredible colors, bees wax candles to light next winters cold nights and honey to sweeten my days. All of this is a small compared to what I as a single human will be doing while I let the bees work away, for my community and planet
So if one of my bees finds his way onto your balcony or into your yard please do not swat him, flap at him or spray him we all need him more then he will ever know.