Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spring Bee Food

As the weather has improved I have switched from solid food (sucrose and fondant) to syrup and made a large batch that included some bee tea.

Here is how we did it:

In a 5 gallon bucket (the Home Depot Homer Bucket) mix:
  • 1.5 gallons hot water
  • 20 lbs of sugar
  • A medium onion macerated in a blender with a few cups of water;
  • A gallon of bee tea
Mix all together until the sugar dissolves.  makes about 4+ gallons.

I make the bee tea by bringing a gallon of water to a boil, adding a couple of chamomile tea bags, a
couple of lemon tea bags, half a lemon, and a pinch of sea salt.  I let that steep for a few minutes and then into the bucket.

Now about the onion....I know it sounds strange and I am trying this for the first time to see if the bees accept it.  It is supposed to be a pro-biotic that stimulates the immune system of the bees.  The measures described on the site I discovered are about 1 tablespoon of grated onion per quart of syrup.  If they take the syrup with this unusual ingredient, then no harm.  Can't hurt them I expect.

With the warm weather comes thoughts of spring and veggies upon which the bees will thrive.  Willie and I got our spring on by getting some seeds started for our very cramped urban garden.

We use dixie cups and some store-bought compost for our planting medium and got to work filling the small cups and adding a few seeds each.

The seeds we had were a mix of those we bought at the store and those we got at the seed exchange at yesterday's Rooting DC event.  I was very focused on getting the tomatoes started as those are our favorites.  Squash and zucchini are also a house staple and prolific so an emphasis.  My own vice, peppers (both sweet and hot) drove our final starts.

We labeled each cup and placed in the windowsill of our south-facing window, with a prayer and hope for an early spring.

Admittedly a little cramped, but as soon as the danger of frost subsides I will transplant this into small pots and move them to the outdoors.  If last year is any indication, once they hit the outdoors they will really pop.

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