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Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 | 4 comments

Jill and Jeff’s Backyard Honey Harvest

Jill and Jeff’s Backyard Honey Harvest

New to beekeeping, Jill and Jeff installed hives and 20,000 bees in their backyard in the spring of 2014. You can imagine their thrill when they were able to harvest a combs-worth after only a couple of months. Jill wrote a guest post for us about their first bonus harvest, describing each step. At the end, she said that they were told to leave the bees “at peace” for the rest of the year until this summer. So, during the winter, they studied their beekeeping reference books, and watched the bees come and go from afar. When Jeff could see that the frames were more than 80% full of honey (he would lift the lid to check on them from time to time), he donned his trusty bee hood and pulled out two honey-comb laden frames from the hives. What’s most fascinating about this year’s harvest is seeing both the virgin honey (at left) and the brood honey (at right). The brood honey comes from the comb that housed baby...

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Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 | 3 comments

A Backyard Garden’s Beautiful Bounty

A Backyard Garden’s Beautiful Bounty

In March, we shared a post about a new community garden of sorts, organized by neighbors Catherine and Lauren. Back then, Catherine, Lauren and their team were hard at work constructing the raised beds, prepping the soil and organizing their planting and harvesting schedule in a detailed spreadsheet. We’re back today to show you the amazing transformation. To recap, here was the garden back in March: And here it is today. In past years, the garden extended only along the back fence, land that happens to be owned by the church next door. Catherine and Lauren had big plans to expand the garden — but wanted to do so legally — so they met with the leaders of the church and sought permission to use their land, which they whole-heartedly granted. Where there once was a grassy area between their back fences and the church parking lot is now home to more than 20 raised beds with all sorts of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. Maintaining a garden of...

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Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 | 4 comments

Homegrown Hops on Howell

Homegrown Hops on Howell

My friends Matt and Angela have been brewing their own beer for a few years now — they rarely buy beer from the store, and you know you’ll find at least one keg of homebrew at their annual super bowl party. (Here’s two from last year’s festivities.) After moving into their current house on Howell Ave. and finding out their neighbor grows hops for his own homebrew, they decided to add hops to their backyard garden plan. What better way to make your homebrew taste more homemade than with homegrown hops. To grow hops, you need a rhizome, which is a piece of the root of another female hop plant. You can buy online or use from an already established plant, as Matt and Angela did with a piece of their neighbor’s hop plant. The rhizome should be planted in early Spring in full sun. The plant needs plenty of space and a fence, trellis or some sort of central pole for it to grow up. In Matt and...

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Posted by on May 27, 2014 | 0 comments

Sally’s Passalong Flower and Herb Garden

Sally’s Passalong Flower and Herb Garden

My neighbors, Sally and Mark, have created a perfectly charming flower garden in their postage-stamp sized plot, the bed dotted with hand-painted rocks that call out the various herbs. The garden is largely made up of perennial passalong plants, a Southern tradition of sharing propagated plants with friends and family members. Last fall, Sally and her mother Debby gutted the bed and enriched the soil. Then, they transplanted perennials from both Debby’s and Sally’s grandmother’s gardens. To keep the full-sun, south-facing plot well hydrated in the hottest summer months, they installed a soaker hose set with stakes. Sally and Mark invested in a timer and set it to water the garden every day for 30 minutes at 6 a.m. To make the garden markers, Sally’s mom wrote on the rocks with acrylic paint and sprayed them with an acrylic sealant. Sally’s garden already looks lovely and I can’t wait to see how it matures in the coming months and seasons. I also love the idea of handing down perennial starts from generation...

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