Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunflower seed order!

In the Field

Well, obviously, I am not in the field yet but getting ready for it.  I placed my sunflower seed order today.  I will still be growing at Meadowlark Heritage Farms this summer.  I have 6 - 100 foot rows there.  I am going to only plant single stem varieties this year and I am going to try and grow 3 rows of flowers in each larger row.  So, I am really packing them in because I want to see how "dense" I can plant and still get a good harvest.  I will be planting all direct seed into the soil this year.  Last year, I tried some transplants but I did not see enough of a difference to justify the transplanting (it was a little bit extra work...).

I went to the Johnny Seed website to place my order and found that there have been several new varieties out this year.  So, here are the "new" ones that I am trying this year:

Sunrich Lime - New!  Bright, lemon-yellow petals surround a lime-green disk.

Sunrich Limoncello - New!  Lemon-yellow petals with a ray of bright yellow at the center. The bicolor petals give the blooms an enhanced three-dimensional appearance.

ProCut Plum - Exciting new addition to the ProCut series.  Muted plum-to-cream bicolor blooms combine well with soft or vivid colors.

ProCut Red - It took years of breeding efforts to produce this impressive red ProCut sunflower. Early blooms are produced on long, strong, single stems. 

Sunbright Supreme - Blooms more quickly than Sunbright under short days.  More rounded petals and shorter, more rigid stems with reduced lower leaves make this an excellent variety for bouquet work.

ProCut Peach - Peach-colored petals with a dark disc.

I had no idea there were so many new sunflowers being introduced so this was a pleasant surprise.  I am most excited about the red.  In the past, the only red available was a branching variety which is not so great for cut flowers.  I am also planting 7 other varieties that I have planted in the past that are reliable producers.  I am so excited to be introducing some new sunflowers again this year!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sad bee news...


As you can probably guess from the title of this blog, our bees have died.  I know they were alive in December because we saw some dead ones outside the entrance of the hive.  This may sound contradictory but seeing dead bees is actually a good sign because it means that the bees are keeping the hive clean (and throwing out the dead bees).

Last Saturday, Joshua's 4-H beekeeping group had their first meeting.  Our leader, Alison, said she had 12 hives going into winter and that 4 were still alive.  Another family had 4 hives and 1 made it through the winter.  So, it seems that about 25% of hives were successful in our little group.  

The silver lining is that the bees did not get around to eating a lot of the honey so I think we can go in and harvest some out.  It looks like we will be starting over and I have already placed an order for new bees that should come in April.

We are not sure why the bees did not make it.  I don't think we did anything wrong.  It is just how it goes with honeybees.  It has been one of the coldest and snowiest winters.  That may have had some effect.  I just love this picture that Henry took of the beehive with all the snow.