A day of two halves

Yesterday, I walked down to the allotment in the sunshine. Thankfully the rain had stopped and I wandered down to the main coop to find all the chickens sunbathing. I fed them and went back to the top of the plot to open up the greenhouse.

Emily and her chicks were hungry and made good inroads into their food. I cleaned out their water and spent a couple of minutes watching them run around the coop.

Next I spotted Steve and Phil and joined them in checking the bees. We started with the hive on the Community Garden. It took a while but we eventually found the Queen hiding on one of the brood frames at the back of the brood box.

We removed some excess comb formed at the base of the brood frames and the brace comb they have made to secure the hive together.

We also cleared out the second hive which is empty apart from several bees who are determined to enjoy the free supply of residual honey in the hive. You can’t blame them wanting a quick and easy take away rather than foraging for food. Steve cleared the old frames out and set about cleaning the brood box.

Phil and I topped up the smoker and started checking the big hive on Phil’s plot. It was so busy! We removed the supers, which are groaning with honey. We reorganised the frames so that all the capped ones are in one super, ready to collect the honey in a couple of weeks.

Bee suits off, I ambled to the clubhouse to say hello to everyone before realising I forgot to bring down the kitchen compost box. I dashed home and was halfway out the door before the monsoon started.

I made the prudent decision to wait at home until it was over and hoped that it wouldn’t last too long, especially as the greenhouse door was still open. Luckily, the monsoon only lasted about 15 minutes. As soon as it stopped I dashed out armed with the compost bin and one empty egg boxes.

I arrived back on site to find almost everyone had gone home. I dropped off the egg boxes in the greenhouse and checked that Emily and the chicks hadn’t drowned in the monsoon. They were all fine. The Plymouth Rock chick is holding itself differently from the Wyandottes which suggests that one set is one sex and the other another. It’s a bit nerve-wracking waiting to find out!

With everything soaked, I decided I would quickly top up the wormery towers with the contents of the compost bin. I split them between both towers and topped it off with a thick layer of damp shredded newspaper. The level of the castings has risen up so I am hoping that the worms will migrate up into the new box via the holes I drilled in the bottom. My plan was that the worms would move up into the new box, leaving the castings behind. We will have to wait and see if it will work over the next few weeks!

I ran around the plot to get some photos of the plants which have flourished in the recent rain. Even the berry bushes I had pretty much killed off have burst back into life!

Unfortunately, the fruit trees seem to be struggling with disease. I have no idea why but I wonder whether the damp weather hasn’t helped.

Tomorrow, weather depending, I will clean out the coop, hoe the plot and plant some more seeds.

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