I visited our permaculture orchard early this afternoon. We’re having a thaw after a couple of weeks of hard freeze conditions. Last night and this morning, the rain has been plentiful. In the little video posted below, you will see:
- hybrid plums and black currants and asian persimmon planted on the raised berm,
- a swale catching melted snow and water running down the slope of the land,
- black alder (Alnus glutinosa) which I planted in the swales because they tolerate wet conditions and help manage water, fix nitrogen and build soil fertility, provide early pollen to the bees (see those catkins?), provide habitat and food for many creatures, and can easily be coppiced,
- wild perennial weeds (especially aster and goldenrod last fall) and grasses growing in the swale which stabilize the soil, help water to percolate into the soil, and provide food and habitat for many creatures, and
- a 3-d deer fence in the background which allows most every animal to sneak into the orchard but is excellent for preventing deer from coming into the orchard and damaging/eating our plantings.
I, also, found this hardy character growing cheerfully in the rain! We planted plenty of rhubarb last spring once we found that we liked rhubarb mead so much. They are doing well!
Categories: Climate, Flora, food, Grasses, Herbaceous Plants, Orchard, permaculture, Soil, Strategies, Trees, Water
Tags: berms, permaculture, permaculture orchard, rhubarb, swales
She seems to blend as one with this dandelion flower. I would have thought she had enough! I hope she is strong enough to take that load home!
I’m sitting in front of the woodstove and the snow is falling. So goes spring! Yesterday, was windy but warm and sunny and the honeybees were doing the best that they could to gather pollen from early blooming trees and flowers. I could not resist to, yet again, try to get the perfect shot of the blue pollen that the bees gather from the tiny Siberian Squill.
At our Chester County Beekeepers meeting last night, we had a speaker talking to us about bee nutrition. The bees need the protein that comes in the form of pollen as well as the sugar in nectar. The pollen is not eaten directly. It is carried into the hive on the bodies of the foraging bees. It is mixed with saliva and nectar and packed into the cells as bee bread. The recipe is slightly fermented with lactobacillus which comes from the gut of the bees. That fermentation process makes the food more stable and resistant to pathogens. It, also, assists in breaking down the cell walls of the pollen to make it more digestible. I’m sharing a link from an amazing article about bee bread coming from Nordic Food Lab. Such creative minds! The young worker bees eat the bee bread so that they can produce royal jelly from glands in their head. That royal jelly is critical in feeding the young larvae in the brood. Without this nutrition, the hive produces weak bees and begins to function poorly. Our hives are producing lots of worker bees already.