Today, after morning chores, greenhouse work and spreading mulch for the chiles, I ducked over to the hives. The other 7 had the normal coming & going, but mine was at the center of a cloud of very very busy bees. On my last detailed check, there were at least two solid frames of sealed worker brood, a good sign. The timing today would be about right for them to have matured into foragers. But what was all the excitement?
- The punishing hot/dry spell severely set back their mainstay Ladino clover. Recent rains have greened it out, but there’s not much new bloom yet. In the Big Hayfield, Silky Lespedeza, an introduced forage crop, is just beginning to set buds. I wondered if it was the Buckwheat, summer fallow in one of the big garden plots.
On the way back from checking the Buckwheat, I stopped to get a pic of one quirky weed control strategy. Burdock- Family, Compositae: Life cycle (an odd modifier) “Monocarpic perennial”- Greek mono, one… carp, fruit – is a perennial that lives several years, but blooms (and seeds) only once, then dies. (Don’t ask “What good is a liberal education?”) If you leave it for 3 or 4 years, Burdock’s large basal rosette produces a seed stalk, then dies. It then takes very little effort to get it pulled, and burned.
A good overall philosophy of weed management, Know Thy Weed: it beats blasting everything with Roundup, and there was an unexpected payoff. As of today, I know Burdock a little better than before.
The hillside that I am, er, managing by letting it flower and die, has a cloud of honey bees coming and going. There’s still a bunch of scratchy, irritating stalks to uproot come Fall, but for now some tireless young foragers have their reward.
Oh, the rain also helped the Summer Squash, without which the bees (and their caregivers) would be much worse off.